Under President Donald Trump, all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. risk deportation, members of Congress said following a Thursday meeting with a top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official.
While Trump has claimed that unauthorized immigrants with criminal charges would be prioritized, the impression ICE Acting Director Tom Homan left on Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham was that "all immigrant communities are at risk."
“In effect, every undocumented person in America is now vulnerable to arrest and removal as a result of the president's orders," added Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.).
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
According to ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea, the agency "does not conduct arrests indiscriminately" or use check points. She said that, "officers target preidentified individuals for arrest at specific locations based on law enforcement leads.” However, she noted that when they come across someone who is in violation of federal immigration laws, they do arrest them. "Every arrest is made on a case by case basis," Elzea said.
According to Rep. Linda Sanchez, a vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, "they said we can and should expect many more arrests and removals this year."
Not all Latino lawmakers were allowed in the meeting with ICE, however.
Several have alleged that they were asked to leave by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Among them: Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), considered a champion for immigrants.
"Never before in my 20-plus years has this happened," he tweeted.
— Luis V. Gutierrez (@RepGutierrez) February 16, 2017
In another tweet, in Spanish, he added: “With Trump in the White House, we have a dictator in Congress."