Close to home: Deportation threats felt in Goodhue County
National news outlets reported last week that President Donald Trump said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will increase deportations after the Fourth of July. This declaration came about a week after Trump delayed the deportation increase that he had previously announced. While Red Wing is about 1,000 miles from Washington, D.C., the impact of deportation threats can be felt here.
"Definitely has an impact, I think, on everybody," stated Lucy Richardson, the executive director of Hispanic Outreach of Goodhue County.
During an interview Wednesday, July 3, Richardson explained that no one living in Red Wing, that she knows of, has been deported. However, she is aware of local residents affected by the threat. Richardson recalled learning about a local grade school child who had frequent stomach aches. His mother eventually learned that the aches were due to his worry that his friend or his friend's family would be deported.
"Everything affects children and adults by seeing what's going on," Richardson said.
Deportations are not new in the United States. President Barack Obama deported more people than any president has, including, so far, Trump.
Once a month, Hispanic Outreach brings in an attorney who works with immigrants and undocumented immigrants for free. Richardson explained that the attorney helps immigrants to create plans for what will happen to their families, belongings, etc., if they are deported.
The Red Wing community has shown mixed opinions on immigration and deportation. In December, the City Council signed a letter presented by the Human Rights Commission that states, among other declarations, that the city "requests that federal officials uphold national laws and handle asylum seekers with dignity and reunited all families that have crossed the border."
At the same time, Red Wing has not decided to label itself a "sanctuary city." Goodhue County honors ICE detainer requests when someone has been booked into the jail and they have a warrant signed by a federal magistrate or judge.
While there has not recently been a national protests against deportation, the U.S. has seen multiple protests against detaining families at the border. A major candlelight vigil is planned for July 12. Communities across the U.S., along with Canada and some European countries are planning to light candles for those being detained.
A local vigil organized by concerned citizens will begin at 8:30 p.m. in Central Park.
This story was edited July 12, 2019, to clarify the policy of Goodhue County jail for detaining non-citizens.