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In Denver, No Sign Yet Of Mass Deportations Trump Promised

Esther Honig
Rosa De Mata volunteers grilling Italian sausages at her church’s annual fundraiser. ";

While communities in 10 U.S. cities, including Denver, braced for mass deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, by midnight on Sunday only a very small number of arrests had been reported.

The Colorado Rapid Response Network, which works to independently verify any ICE activity, had not confirmed any arrests the entire weekend.

In Denver, immigrant communities seemed divided over whether news of the raids had caused a panic. While some people may have stayed home out of precaution, Felix Torres, owner of a Super Carniceria Compare off Federal Blvd. said his customers were still stopping in for their weekend groceries.

“Everything seems normal,” he said with a shrug.

Just down the street, a taco vendor who didn’t want to be identified disagreed. He’d seen half the business of a typical Sunday.

Near the Globeville neighborhood, at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Church, the day carried on uninterrupted. Parishioners said Sunday’s Spanish services were packed, like always. 

As they do each year, the church held their annual fundraiser — a block party of food and music. 60-year-old Rosa De Mata of Denver volunteered to grill sausages and said in Spanish that despite news of the raids, turnout for the event was excellent.

“(It) hasn’t affected them at all. Everyone’s coming to enjoy the food, the party, the music,” she said.

Nearby, Ysania Ortega, also of Denver, sold kid’s toys from under a canvas tent. She said in previous years, the event had been packed with crowds of people. She suspected fear of the raids kept many away.  

"I think it’s because of what happened with the president,” she said in Spanish, “what he’s doing with the immigration. That’s why there’s fewer people.”

While the mass raids promised by President Trump hadn’t materialized, advocates advised communities to stay vigilant; they could take place later in the week.

Immigrant communities have been on edge since the Trump administration announced plans for the operation, inflaming the political debate over immigration. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a pre-emptive lawsuit Thursday that aims to protect asylum seekers. Activists held demonstrations and advocates coached immigrants on their rights.

Administration officials have said that the coordinated action will target about 2,000 people with final deportation orders in major cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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