Facebook and Twitter helped fuel rumors of immigrant roundups and created panic in immigrant communities. It turns out many rumors are just rumors.
In Brooklyn, City Council member Jumaane Williams and his staff checked out rumors that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents made stops at Bobby’s department stores on Utica Avenue and Church Avenue, Kings County Hospital, and stopped commuter vans and cabs.
All untrue, according to Williams, who found none of it happened. He said, “My staff and I have followed up on as many of the rumors as we can. We have spoken to owners of the commuter van lines, as well as the management at Bobby’s department store, and have confirmed that at this time there have not been general indiscriminate stops made by ICE agents over the past few days.
However, they did discover reports of scammers posing as immigration agents demanding money from immigrants. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued an emergency alert to warn against people posing as immigration agents.
Schneiderman described a case in Queens where an immigrant was approached by four men wearing clothes that seemed like ICE uniforms. They threatened the man and told him they would detain him unless he gave them all his money.
The attorney general urged anyone approached by one of these scammers to call a special immigration fraud hotline run by his office: 866-390-2992 or email Civil.Rights@ag.ny.gov.
Council member Williams asks people to report actual ICE activity in Brooklyn to his office. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Williams said, “Concerns about immigration checkpoints and raids, whether rumors or not, is evidence of the mass hysteria that has taken hold of communities across the country because of Trump. This administration from day one has done everything in its power to marginalize people, create a culture of fear, and divide Americans. The President’s erratic behavior only makes it more difficult for our communities, as evidenced by his recent announcement about the possibility of deploying 100,000 National Guard troops for immigrant roundups.”
Also know that the NYPD does not ask people about their immigration status and is not working with ICE.