The sweeps in 10 major cities, including New York, are set to focus on undocumented families.
One protest on Friday night in Foley Square was called “Lights for Liberty,” and immigration groups are going around making sure people know if ICE comes knocking, don’t answer the door.
The outreach is in response to President Donald Trump’s plan for nationwide immigration raids, as first reported by the New York Times, which calls for ICE to round up people on deportation lists this Sunday in as many as 10 major cities — including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Denver, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, Chicago and Atlanta.
Some of the people targeted have been in the country for decades with children who are U.S. citizens.
Trump said authorities were “focused on criminals as much as we can before we do anything else.”
“It starts on Sunday and they’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries or they’re going to take criminals out, put them in prison, or put them in prison in the countries they came from.”
“We say to President Trump, stop separating children from their families,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said. “Tell your agencies, do not separate a single little child from their parents.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said his city would not cooperate with ICE. And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged New Yorkers needing immigration help to contact the New York State New Americans Hotline.
WATCH: Connecticut officials prepare for possible ICE raids
Many Republican lawmakers expressed support for the raids.
“If you are come to this position, you’ve been here years, you’ve gone through a court system, you’ve been found that you have to be deported, you have to follow the rule of law,” House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said.
Cuomo released the following statement:
“There are multiple reports that the Trump Administration will launch its previously announced blitz of ICE raids across the country this Sunday, including here in New York. This shameful assault on families across the country will no doubt lead to further separations of children from their parents and ‘collateral arrests’ by ICE, where individuals with no orders of deportation will be detained. This politically motivated directive is despicable and inhumane, and New York will fight it. I have asked the state’s Liberty Defense Project to be on high alert to assist families in need of legal services. I encourage all New Yorkers to be familiar with their rights – especially when confronted by ICE or CBP – and anyone in need of assistance may contact the Liberty Defense Project via the New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 or email@example.com. As I said when the Trump raids were first announced: America’s only threat is from within, and while this federal administration governs by fear and division, in New York we know that diversity is our greatest strength and we will do everything in our power to protect our immigrant communities.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also released a statement:
“In anticipation of the Trump Administration’s threatened ICE raids, we are proactively reaching out to our immigrant communities to make sure they know we stand with them and are prepared to do whatever we can to protect them. Let’s be clear: The Trump Administration’s fear-mongering is un-American and dangerous. These raids do not make us safer; they will only make the work of local law enforcement more challenging and increase fears in our hardworking immigrant communities. Any family who needs legal representation should know there are many pro bono legal services available to them. We will be doing everything we can to highlight these resources and to make sure our immigrant communities know their rights and feel at home.”
The ACLU is also filing a lawsuit, arguing defendants need an opportunity to plead their case to an immigration judge before getting deported.
The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said efforts to deport families with orders to leave the country will continue after the national sweep.
Matthew Albence, the agency’s acting director, said targets were on an “accelerated docket” of immigration court cases for predominantly Central Americans who recently arrived at the U.S. border in unprecedented numbers. Similar operations occurred in 2016 under President Barack Obama and in 2017 under Trump.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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