Fear of ICE Raids Leads Some U.S. Citizens to Carry Their Passports - NBC4 Washington
Immigration in America

Immigration in America

Full coverage of immigration issues in the U.S.

Fear of ICE Raids Leads Some U.S. Citizens to Carry Their Passports

"I’ve been carrying a passport since the day [Trump] was elected," said the American spokesman for a Latino organization

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    ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations officers, in search of 32-year-old Hugo Medina, question his mother Magdalena Medina, 69, about his whereabouts in a morning raid on his residence in Riverside. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they are relying more than ever on costly manhunts to locate immigrants in the country illegally who have criminal records.

    With immigration raids expected to begin Sunday in at least nine major cities, some U.S. citizens are taking precautions, including carrying their American passports at all times, to avoid being mistakenly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. 

    The wary Americans, often Latinos, said they don't want to get swept up in the planned roundups announced by President Donald Trump, NBC News reported.

    "I was born in this country," said David Cruz, communications director for the League of United Latin American Citizens. "I’m a third-generation Texan. I’ve been carrying a passport since the day he was elected."

    Passports, used by international travelers to return to the United States, are legal proof of citizenship.

    A Los Angeles journalist from Latin America, who did not want his name used out of fear his passport would be flagged, said he began carrying the document with him this weekend. Naturalized in the 2000s, he said recent stories of citizens mistakenly detained by ICE made him think he could be wrongly targeted. 

    He said it poses a particular quandary for naturalized citizens with accents because ICE agents may believe they are in the U.S. illegally and not afford them the rights of Americans, including due process, access to a lawyer and leaving their homes without proof of citizenship.