NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New Yorkers are rallying against planned weekend raids by ICE, attempting to apprehend thousands of illegal immigrants.
They banded together Friday on one side of a nationwide debate over civil liberties in the U.S. and along the Mexican border.READ MORE: Dirt Bikes Crushed On Staten Island As City Continues Crackdown On Illegal Rides
They filled Foley Square with signs and voices of support for undocumented immigrants.
“I’m feeling scared for myself and also my family,” Eriverto told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
“They are my mom, brother, for me they are everything.”
Eriverto came to the United States with his mother in 2003 when he was 15. Now in his 30s he’s working here as a bartender and waiter, but admits his family’s immigration status is still up in the air.
“That doesn’t mean we are robbers or bad people,” he said. “I’m feeling so sad because Sunday is starting something we never thought was gonna be.”
Sunday is the expected start date for ICE agents will begin carrying out raids in at least ten major cities across the country including in New York.
White House officials say immigration authorities will mostly target illegal immigrants and those who’ve been issued final orders of removal from the country.READ MORE: New Jersey Senator Says COVID Survivors Should Enjoy Same Benefits As Fully Vaccinated People
“You know what? They came in illegally, they have to go out,” President Trump declared.
The president also called out New York as a “sanctuary city” and Mayor de Blasio specifically.
“A guy like de Blasio wouldn’t want the raids, but many mayors do, most mayors do, you know why? Because they don’t want to have crime in their city,” Trump added.
De Blasio fired back on Twitter saying “wow – @realdonaldtrump is right for once! A guy like me wouldn’t want to criminalize immigrant communities that have made our country stronger.”
Later the mayor claimed the impending ICE raids are reckless and cynical. Critics say the raids will rip families apart – pointing to the crisis at the southern border.
Friday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence visited a processing facility in Texas where families are being held. Detainees packed in security pens cried out to the cameras.
Pence admitted “this is tough stuff” but added agents are doing a good job in difficult circumstances.
“The time has come to stop irresponsible rhetoric of the way that people are being cared for and treated that are being detained in our facility. This is tough work, it’s overwhelming our system,” Pence said.MORE NEWS: Hispanic Heritage Month: Port Chester Is Westchester County's First Majority-Hispanic Municipality
The vice president added he has pushed for more federal spending to deal with the situation. At Friday’s rally, immigrants were told to be prepared come Sunday at 3 a.m.