DENVER -- Immigrant activists say President Donald Trump's tweet June 17, that "ICE will begin the process of removing millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States," was meant to incite terror.
"We are disgusted by the administration and ICE's glee in terrorizing immigrant families, leaving children crying and sick to their stomach with fear about what could happen to their parents," said Ana Rodriguez, of the Colorado People's Alliance. "We know that massive raids or not, ICE is ripping away our neighbors as collateral damage every single day and that we must continue to be ready to protect each other no matter what."
Rodriguez said the immigrant community is ready to stand up and fight for each other.
She said a central piece of that fight is the Rapid Response Hotline, which is designed to inform immigrants about threats and to let them know about their rights.
"Two years ago, we created the Colorado Rapid Response Network so we could be ready to protect our community from horrific attacks like the one announced this week," said Gladis Ibarra, of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. "We have been preparing every day and our network has grown to over 300 trained volunteers throughout the state, ready to respond to immigration raids."
In a news release emailed to Denver7, ICE Public Affairs spokeswoman Carol Dranko said:
“Illegal aliens continue gaming the system by smuggling children to gain access to our country. After violating our laws, they further disrespect our country by refusing to show up for their hearings in court – so they are not even present when a judge orders them to be removed. No American citizen can get away with breaking the law or violating a court order – and neither should illegal aliens. If Congress does not change the laws to ensure illegal aliens can be promptly removed at the southern border, there is no alternative but to continuously arrest these fugitive aliens in the interior.
“Any leak telegraphing sensitive law enforcement operations is egregious and puts our officers’ safety in danger. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are true American heroes and the President’s postponement protects officers and provides an opportunity for Congress to swiftly work together in a bipartisan fashion to end the incentives for child smuggling and ensure all illegal aliens can be promptly returned upon apprehension at the southern border.”
At midday Saturday, the President tweeted that he was delaying the Illegal Immigration Removal Process, at the request of the opposition party.
"We will not be lulled into a false sense of security by this new announcement, nor will we be driven to constant terror," said Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition Leader Jeanette Vizguerra. "We will remain vigilant and ready to protect our rights and to protect each other."
Rodriguez said it's not for immigrants to determine whether it was a fake threat, "all we care about is are we ready if something happens."
Rodriguez, who is undocumented herself, said "huge raid or not, families are already being separated every single day."
When asked about claims that only those who have ignored final orders of deportation are at risk, Rodriguez replied, "that's a farce."
"We know that the vast majority of people that are actually picked up by ICE are not anybody that was on anybody's list, they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," she said.