In the last week, ICE agents targeted for enforcement more than 600 people across the country. Donald Trump described in a Sunday tweet the raids in this way: “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”
Here are real Baltimoreans that were picked up:
Serbando Fernando Rodriguez
Serbando Fernando Rodriguez fled violence in Honduras. The owner of a barbershop shop, he was extorted by gangs. When he couldn’t pay, the gangs beat him up and threatened to kill him. He fled the next day and tried to enter U.S. in June of 2012. Was caught by immigration, never interviewed to explore his fears of violence, and was deported to Honduras. As soon as he got off the plane, fearing his life, he got on a bus and returned to U.S. He moved to Baltimore and has worked at a successful barbershop in Highlandtown. Serbando is a popular local community member who is well-known throughout the City’s tight knit Highlandtown community. A bicycle afficionado, he teaches bike repair to teens and started a petition drive to create bicycle lanes at a local park.
Last Thursday night, Serbando and his girlfriend drove to the Walgreens on Eastern Avenue to pick something up. They were stopped in the parking lot by ICE. According to Serbando, the officials were simply hanging out in the parking lot “looking for Hispanic-looking people” to question. They were dressed as police but identified themselves as ICE agents. They stopped the couple and asked Serbando for his license and registration. He provided the ID and everything checked out. They then asked him if he had a green card. He said no and they arrested him. He is now being held at the Frederick County Detention Center.
Manuel Lopez Suarez
In 2000, Manuel came to the US from Ecuador at the age of 15 where he finished his youth in Chicago in the care of his uncle. Although the immigration court had scheduled him for a hearing, as a minor he followed the advice of his uncle and did not appear at the hearing. Before the age of 18, he has been ordered deported without having any idea what was going on.
Eventually Manuel moved to Baltimore and started a life here. He and his wife have two US citizen children, a ten year old and a twelve year old. Manuel and his family are part of a vibrant and strong local Ecuadoran community that has been rebuilding Baltimore block by block. Adding to the City’s growth, Manuel has opened a business in the City and has been purchasing properties for rehab.
On Thursday evening, Manuel was parked near Conkling and Eastern Avenue when he was approached by ICE officers wearing jackets with Police written on it. They asked him for license and registration and if he had a green card. He said he did not have a green card and they detained him. The agents said “Trump wants to deport you!” They took him into custody and he was transferred to the Frederick County Detention Center on an immigration hold.