Demonstrators say ICE raids in Mott Haven have made families fearfulPosted: Updated:
A rally was held in Mott Haven Thursday night as demonstrators protested raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Undocumented families say ICE agents have attempted to carry out raids in their apartment buildings.
They claim it's happened for a third time this year.
"We have come to this country to contribute, to make of this nation a greater nation. We haven't come to steal, we haven't come to do harm. We come with our families to make a new beginning, a new life," said Good Shepherd Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz.
"She panicked, she started telling me that she was close to being taken away, but luckily, she didn't open the doors," said Donna Baez, whose mother is undocumented. She said her mother and her father were home when ICE personnel banged on their door Wednesday morning and said they had a warrant.
"They can't just take anybody from the building unless it was a real crime," Baez said.
Ana Perez said she was home with her family as well, She said ICE officers were banging on her door at 6 a.m. with a rifle in hand.
"They brought their guns, their rifles like we were criminals and like we're not criminals at all," Perez said.
ICE told News 12 that its enforcement and removal operations officers in New York, which included members of its special response team, tried to execute a criminal arrest warrant on Wednesday.
ICE said in a statement in part, "Officers wore either blue, black and tan tactical vests; attire that is commonly wore by ICE officers during at large enforcement actions. All officers were appropriately marked as "Police" and/or "ICE" on their outermost garments. No U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) personnel were a part of the execution of this criminal warrant. ERO SRTs are comprised of local ERO Officers and have been utilized on numerous occasions executing criminal arrest warrants and other high-risk enforcement actions."
When asked about the rifles, ICE said certain enforcement and removal operations activities require the use of resources beyond those of the typical enforcement and removal officers to make sure a safe and successful resolution takes place.
Protesters said it's made them fearful.
"Nobody should go through this. No family deserves to be separated," Perez said.