NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras Baraka and the NJ Urban Mayors Association released a joint statement Friday slamming a purported mass deportation sting as "racist, bigoted and inhumane."
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid is expected to begin in the early morning hours Sunday, the Washington Post reported two unidentified sources as saying. President Donald Trump earlier this week tweeted that "millions" of undocumented immigrants would be removed, but national news outlets have reported about 2,000 would be focused on.
“This outrageous tearing of families apart and causing fear in communities across America is clearly a political stunt, coming on the heels of Trump’s kick-off of his re-election campaign,” Baraka’s joint statement said.
Trump's deportation announcement came on the eve of his reelection rally. The Post reported the sting will take place over the course of several days in up to 10 cities that are "major immigration destinations," including Houston, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.
“We have already seen the horrific treatment given to undocumented immigrants in detention centers, where many detainees sleep on cold concrete floors, are denied proper food, beds, and toilets, where children are separated from their families, and adults are severely mistreated for simply trying to seek a better life,” the mayor’s joint statement continued.
Essex County has a contract with the federal government worth millions that allows ICE to detain immigrants at a county correctional facility on Doremus Avenue in Newark. Activists ramped up their calls to end the contract after a federal report documented a 2018 visit to the facility that found unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
Baraka declared Newark a sanctuary city in 2017, but city council yet to pass a resolution opposing the county’s contract with ICE. The council president said she would consider such a resolution, and the mayor the mayor said in an op-ed last year that Essex County's cooperation with federal immigration authorities "must end."
The New Jersey Urban Mayors Association will hold a news conference on Monday at 11 a.m. on the steps of Newark City Hall to speak more about raids.