HOUSTON - Heads of law enforcement agencies in the Houston area are reacting to news that federal immigration raids are planned this weekend.
Reports from both NBC News and CNN said Immigration and Customs Enforcement are scheduled to move forward with an operation targeting migrants with court-ordered removals beginning Sunday.
The New York Times reported the raids will take place over several days in at least 10 cities across the country, including Houston.
Houston police Chief Art Acevedo
There is a lot of fear among children in the city’s immigrant community, according to Houston police Chief Art Acevedo.
“I’ve had children come up to me at forums, saying, ‘I’m afraid to go to school. I’m afraid to leave the house. I’m afraid to go to the house and find my parents gone,’” Acevedo said during an interview with CNN. “Families belong together. They certainly don’t belong apart.”
Acevedo said the raids also inhibit his department’s ability to investigate crimes.
“It pushes people further into the darkness, further into the dark and further outside the realm of society, which means we have a hard time investigating crimes,” Acevedo said.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez
In a Friday morning tweet, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he doesn’t support raids that aim to deport immigrants who don’t represent a threat to the U.S.
“The focus should always be on clear and immediate safety threat,” Gonzalez wrote.
He said these types or raids divert resources, and he echoed Acevedo's concerns about the department's investigative ability.
"It silences witnesses and victims and would further worsen the challenges law enforcement officials face," Gonzalez wrote.
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