Families left living in fear ahead of ICE’s mass deportation operation this weekend

MIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) - A migrant crackdown is coming to South Florida this weekend, leaving many people living in fear.

All the attention on Sunday will be focused on Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities ahead of a mass deportation operation.

“I think our community is scared out of their minds,” immigration attorney Tammy Fox-Isicoff said.

However, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the process is not cut and dry, and the city does not know what to expect.

“We have not been notified about the scale of the operation,” Suarez said. “We haven’t been notified about the time. We haven’t been notified about who is being targeted.”

President Donald Trump spoke to reporters in Washington ahead of the weekend operation.

“People come into our country illegally. We are taking them out legally. It’s very simple,” Trump said.

Protesters held demonstrations at the ICE Detention Center in Miramar and the holding facility for children in Homestead, which has been a point of contention for candidates running for president.

“Shut it down! Shut it down,” protesters in Homestead chanted in unison.

“I think it’s our duty to be here,” a protester said. “I believe it’s not the values that this country holds.”

Laurie Woodward Garcia, who was dressed as Lady Liberty, said she hopes people remember the significance of the statue.

“Freedom, justice and she’s always been a beacon of hope — not just for this nation, but around the world,” she said. “My community is not safe as this weekend, there are raids happening across the U.S., and people are afraid to leave their home.”

Candle-lit vigils were also held Friday at immigration facilities in Miramar, Homestead and around the country.

Yessika Giraldo, who attended the vigil at Trinity Lutheran Church in Pembroke Pines, said, “It doesn’t matter who it is. It doesn’t matter what their status is. Childhood should be respected.”

Religious groups and volunteers in Homestead said the children there are well cared for, despite politicians who have said otherwise.

“I was overwhelmed with — surprised — at the great care that was provided for these children,” Pastor Russell Black said.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., strongly disagreed with that notion.

“Families continue to be separated at the border,” Mucarsel-Powell said. “You can see that if you come and visit the Homestead Detention Facility, where thousands of kids are being held.”

Deportation sweeps were rumored in June when the Trump administration threatened to go after one million people in the country illegally, but it never happened.

The New York Times reported that around 2,000 immigrants across the country will be rounded up on Sunday.

Immigration experts said Sunday’s operation is spreading fear in South Florida communities.

“It’s just a mass type of deportation,” Fox-Isicoff said.

Advocacy groups are reportedly preparing safe spaces in secret locations all throughout South Florida for people looking to avoid raids and deportation.

Trump said, for Sunday’s sweep, customs agents will concentrate on criminals.

“We’re focused on criminals,” Trump said. “We are focused on — if you look at MS-13 — but when people come into our country, we take those people out, and we take them out very legally.”

It remains unclear how many South Florida families will be impacted.

In the meantime, immigration attorneys are reminding undocumented immigrants that they have rights.

For more information on what you should do if ICE knocks on your door, please click here.

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