PHOENIX — President Donald Trump said Friday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin removing thousands of people from the country on Sunday.
The president listed cities like Denver and San Francisco as ICE targets.
Phoenix was not on the list, but the immigrant community in Maricopa County is still on edge, according to Maria Castro with Puente Human Rights Movement.
"Arizona and Maricopa County in particular are no stranger to these raids," Castro said Friday.
"[Sheriff Joe] Arpaio was out literally hunting our mothers, our fathers, our siblings, our children out in the streets of Maricopa County."
Castro advised people who fear ICE to not answer the door and call Puente if ICE shows up.
"We'll be able to send out a team to bear witness. We need people to witness some of the atrocities that are happening in our communities."
The Department of Homeland Security's Phoenix field office responded to a 12 News request for comment with a statement:
"Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations. As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. In fact, 90 percent of aliens arrested by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations component in FY2018 had either a criminal conviction(s), pending criminal charge(s), were an ICE fugitive, or illegally reentered the country after previously being removed. However, all of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and - if found removable by final order - removal from the United States."
One of Puente's slogans is "not one more deportation," and Castro said the president's threats of deportation amount to psychological warfare against the Latino community.
"The fear that I feel every time that I see lights, it’s not because I have done something wrong. It’s because of the culture of hatred," Castro said.
"There’s nothing to excuse what this president is doing, the psychological warfare that he has employed on people who look like me."