- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2019

Hispanic Congressional Caucus Whip Adriano Espaillat said Monday his district is fearful of President Trump’s threat of sweeping immigration raids that supposedly began over the weekend.

During an appearance on CNN’s “At This Hour,” Mr. Espaillat said that illegal immigrants shouldn’t open their doors to Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, as they have constitutional rights despite not being citizens.

“This threat by the president has sent chilling effects across the country and people were fearful because they still have rights,” the New York Democrat said. “Anybody that steps in U.S. soil has rights. The rule of law governs this nation — it can’t apply to one person if not the other. Unless ICE comes with a search warrant signed by a federal judge, they shouldn’t open up their door. If they’re arrested, they’re entitled to an attorney. If ICE comes in illegally, they can film them on their own phone.”

Mr. Espaillat, who himself gained citizenship after being brought into the country illegally as a child, said he didn’t know of any reports of additional sweeps outside of normal ICE activity.

“This was a threat,” he said. “One cannot tell if they’re going to start today or tomorrow so the fear is out there, it’s cast out there, in very broad terms and I think that’s what the president is trying to accomplish. He rules by fear.

“It’s a scare tactic to try and motivate his base of white nationalists, a very conservative and even racist people, who are a part of his political base for next here,” Mr. Espaillat said. “People are fearful. They should exercise their rights.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said he does not know whether these raids have started or if anyone has been arrested.

“I don’t have details about any arrests that have taken place so far with respect to that operation,” he said. “When ICE is ready to do it — and maybe it’s already begun — then they’ll execute on it but those are not details they share outside of their own law enforcement agencies.”

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