TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Immigration and Customs Enforcement is set to begin deporting migrant families on Sunday, but according to Topeka officials, they will play no part in the raids.
ICE will be targeting migrant families who recently arrived to the U.S. The families in question would have received one of the 2,000 letters that were sent out in February ordering their deportation.
USA Today reported that Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco made up the ten major cities that will be targeted by the raids.
Even though Topeka is not on this list, there have been reports of ICE vehicles or personnel being spotted in the city.
CNN explained that ICE is a government agency charged with deporting undocumented immigrants, among other things. They work year round, so seeing them in Topeka does not necessarily mean they are working as a part of the raids. They may be seen around town at any time of the year.
According to Topeka Police spokesperson Lt. Andrew Beightel, TPD will have no involvement in the ICE raids taking place on Sunday.
“We have no scheduled activities in reference to this topic,” Beightel said.
Local law enforcement will assist ICE if a situation arises as they are making an arrest, but TPD will not be seeking out immigrants to deport on their own.
Recently, Lawrence Police had to address a rumour that Lawrence Police was working with ICE on an arrest. They had to clear up the issue, saying that ICE works separately from LPD but officers will respond to all calls for assistance, as they did during this specific incident.
Tim Phelps, Deputy Director of the Shawnee County Department of Corrections, said that the DOC will hold immigrants if they are detained by ICE agents, but they will not be making arrests themselves.
“We’ll have nothing to do with the raids,” Phelps said. “If they produce arrestees who will be placed into our custody under our agreement with ICE, then we’ll hold them for as long as ICE directs, but nothing to do with the arresting process itself.”