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Durbin: Expected raids spike fear at a level he’s not seen

The Illinois senator also said Trump’s Sunday tweet telling four Democratic congresswomen they should go back to where they came from “doesn’t help one bit.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (center) flanked by members of Communities United at their offices in Albany Park, July 12, 2019. Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times

As Chicago braces for anticipated ICE raids, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on Sunday said he’s never seen such fear.

“The fear level in the community, particularly in the Hispanic community, I’ve never seen at a higher level,” Durbin said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” as he discussed the expected raids of people in the U.S. illegally who have deportation orders.

“The second thing that I’m feeling across this is a mobilization of belief that we are all in this together, that we’re going to stand together in support of families just like this who simply want a chance to be part of America’s future,” Durbin said.

Durbin was interviewed before he visited the mostly Hispanic Little Village neighborhood to be part of a “morning of solidarity” with Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., and other community leaders. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the streets of the heavily Mexican-American community have cleared because of the expected raids in Chicago and other cities.

President Donald Trump turned up the heat even more when he said in a Sunday Tweet that a group of “Progressive Democratic Congresswomen” should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Trump was presumably referring to four freshman women of color, all Democrats: Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, raised in Chicago; Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Omar, from Somalia, is the only foreign born of the foursome nicknamed “the squad.”

Referring to Trump’s tweet, “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan asked, “Do you consider that a racist tweet?” Durbin replied, “I can just tell you that when we are dealing with mass arrests and mass deportation and that kind of careless rhetoric by the president it doesn’t help one bit.

“My mother was an immigrant ... brought here by my grandparents from Lithuania under the control of Czarist Russia. Do I fit into the president’s category? I’m going to stick with the United States as my mother did and my brothers did trying to make this a better.”

Trump’s mother immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland; wife, Melania is from Slovenia; and a former wife, Ivana was born in what was then Czechoslovakia.

Acting ICE Director Matt Albence on “Fox & Friends Weekend” said using the word raid “does everybody a disservice. We are doing targeted enforcement actions against specific individuals who have had their day in immigration court and have been ordered removed by an immigration judge. We are merely executing those lawfully issued judges orders.”

Durbin said he will be making another southern border visit in coming days.