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ICE Agents Arrest People In Hispanic Community, Activists Concerned

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Federal immigration agents were seen in three Memphis apartment complexes Sunday arresting a large number of people.

Activists tell Local 24 roughly 15 people were taken into custody at Prescott place Apartments, Emerald Ridge Apartments and Corner Park Apartments in the Parkway Village area of East Memphis.

"What is real concerning," said Latino Memphis executive director Mauricio Calvo, "Is that this was targeted towards a specific community. It is targeted at low-income Latinos. That is wrong in so many different ways. It is racial profiling. It's targeting a vulnerable population."

Local 24 reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for comment on the roundup.

ICE regional spokesman Thomas Byrd released a statement saying:

"ICE does not conduct raids. ICE conducts targeted enforcement operations on a daily basis. MPD and SCSD were not involved in any of our targeted operations over the weekend. As Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kelly and Acting ICE Director Homan have stated repeatedly, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of national security and public safety threats; however, no class or category of an alien in the United States is exempt from arrest or removal."

ICE would not comment on the total number of individuals taken into custody but said they would have more details in the coming days.

Word of the arrests spread throughout the Latino community prompting several activists groups to rally in support of families impacted by the weekend's roundup. 

Those groups included the Coalition of Concerned Citizens and Latino Memphis.

In Spanish protesters chanted, "The people united will never be defeated!"

"Everybody's scared," said Calvo. "This is not a way we do business in this country. This is a new administration that is pushing us in this way. We always had ICE. We always had immigration laws, but we're doing it in a way that makes no sense."

Calvo and others took to Latino neighborhoods passing out pamphlets alerting people of their rights should an ICE agent come to their door.

"We can't stop ICE," said Calvo, "but we can make sure people are informed."

One Neighbor, who supports the ICE operations, told Local 24, "Not trying to sound harsh or nothing but It's against the law I just feel, if they're here illegally, then they shouldn't be here."

The Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff's Department alerted media and said neither agency was involved in the weekend operation.

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