SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz met with elected officials from Broward, Thursday, to discuss their concerns over President Donald Trump’s new immigration order.
Trump’s new policy has been expressed in a pair of memos promising a crackdown on the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally.
“There will now be a very significant expansion of the detention and deportation proceedings begun against people who have not committed a crime,” Wasserman Schultz told officials.
The Democratic representative from Florida’s 23rd district said she has met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Control Officials. She said that, according to the new policy, if ICE agents go to a home to detain someone who has a deportation order, they may also detain anyone inside the U.S. who doesn’t have their papers on them.
“That is the bottom line, is that they are tearing families apart,” she said.
Mayors from Sunrise, Cooper City, Pembroke Pines and other cities in Broward County had several questions for the congresswoman.
“Where would they detain the detainees?” Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis asked.
“Are they going to be hiring more judges so that the cases will be moved quickly through the process?” Cooper City Mayor Greg Ross asked, “or are they going to let the immigrants languish?”
Wasserman Schultz was unsure. “Well, we haven’t gotten information on that step in the process,” she said.
The Archdiocese of Miami shared a video with parishioners offering advice to those who are undocumented.
“Friends and fellow parishioners, in this time of uncertainty we would like to offer our support to immigrants and refugees,” attorney Leidy Perez-Davis said in the video.
The video told immigrants what to do if they’re targeted by immigration enforcement officials in a raid.
“If an Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, officer comes to your home, you may refuse to open the door until the officer presents you with a signed warrant,” Perez-Davis said.
One local immigrant said she was disappointed by the new policy.
“It’s very, very sad,” said Claudia, who spoke through a translator and who wouldn’t share her last name. “But we have to respect the new laws, this is not our home country. We are immigrants and have to respect the new rules.”
Wasserman Shultz said the new immigration policies are a public safety issue.
“It’s going to take us back to the days where undocumented immigrants, who are, again, here just to be able to take care of their families and make a better way of life for themselves, are going to back into the shadows,” she said.
Undocumented immigrants, she said, will not report violence such as domestic abuse, or even take their children to the hospital if there is an accident. Some may even stop taking their children to school, she said.
“This is devastating,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Devastating, and I know it’s something that I’m going to continue push back against.”
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