SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Immigration organizations in western Mass are trying to get the word out ahead of raids expected on Sunday.
The New York Times is reporting Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials will arrest thousands of undocumented immigrants, including those who may not be targeted, but happen to be in the area.
According to the New York Times, ICE originally planned to arrest families with court-ordered removals in ten cities across the U.S. last month.
President Trump delayed the operations, giving political leaders time to work out a legislative solution on immigration.
That has not happened yet and now ICE officials say the raids will happen.
"We're vigilant. We are keeping track of what's going on with the federal government and we are going to be there to help them if anything happens," Javier Luengo-Garrido, coordinator for the Immigrant Protection Project, tells us.
With news of planned raids happening across the country this weekend, immigration services organizations tell Western Mass News they are on high alert.
"Just because western Massachusetts hasn't been assigned as a targeted area for this upcoming weekend, we definitely know that doesn't mean that ICE's presence and surveillance of the community isn't going to increase. It's something that is ongoing. We know that it's unpredictable. What that means for us, we just need to continue sharing our resources and telling folks there is support," says Pioneer Valley Workers Center co-director Andrea Schmid.
In addition to the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, the Immigrant Protection Project has also been working with immigrants over the past few years, making sure they understand their rights.
"When we hear about this, the first thing that we think is this is just trying to cause panic, trying to cause uncertainty in families in our community. What we have done with the families is to work with them to know their rights," stated Javier.
Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said Wednesday the raids are "absolutely going to happen", though, he declined to say when.
According to the New York Times, officials say authorities will try not to split up detained families.
"We talk about places they might not go during this week. If they have a plan to go to New York City, please do not go. Stay in your community. Just keep with your regular life, but be aware that, in other places, this is what could possibly happen," added Javier.
According to reports, the raids are planned in major cities, like New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston.