ICE spokeswoman Carol Danko criticized the leaks in context of their potential impact on ICE personnel, saying in a statement Saturday that "any leaks telegraphing sensitive law enforcement operations is egregious and puts our officers' safety in danger."
The agency did not respond to calls for comment Sunday.
In Baltimore, dozens stayed after the weekly 11 a.m. Mass for a “Know Your Rights” seminar in Spanish led by the Esperanza Center, a Catholic Charities resource center.
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori accepted an invitation from the interfaith group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) to speak to the congregation in Spanish before the service Sunday.
“It is high time to call attention to the plight of immigrants in the city of Baltimore and far beyond,” Lori said afterward. “I came to express my solidarity, my love, my care for the immigrant community.”
The Catholic Church leadership, he added, “has to lend its voice to integral immigration reform to help really fix this and to secure a long and lasting justice for our immigrants.”
The “Know Your Rights” seminar, which used some call-and-response segments, focused on reminding immigrants of their Constitutional rights, including: to remain silent, to deny entry to their houses without a warrant and to refuse to sign paperwork, said Giuliana Valencia-Banks, the Esperanza Center’s outreach coordinator.
After the seminar — while one family celebrated a baptism, taking pictures with their baby at a side-altar — a queue formed down the aisle like a second Communion line of people approaching Valencia-Banks with their questions and concerns.
“A lot of it is just fear,” Valencia-Banks said. “There’s a sense of uncertainty and a general mistrust of the system. They have lots of questions about how to start the process of immigration relief.”
On a beautiful Saturday, the usual bustling neighborhood noises of children playing and people running errands or merely enjoying the nice weather were eerily absent, said Rachel Brooks, a senior organizer with BUILD.
“This was a ghost town yesterday,” she said.
Brooks called the false alarm of immigration raids, which have been conducted regularly since 2003, often resulting in hundreds of arrests, a “really ugly, terrible dry run” for immigrants and advocates in the event of actual raids.
“We need to be ready for what might happen the Fourth of July weekend,” he said.
Donna Batkis, a mental health provider who runs Consultas Psychotherapy in Towson and also serves immigrants in Southeast Baltimore, said the situation is further eroding immigrants’ trust in the government.
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Nearly a third of her immigrant patients — many of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental illnesses — have stopped showing up to appointments, prioritizing their families’ physical security over their own psychological well-being, Batkis said.
She doesn’t blame them.
“People are much more aware of their vulnerability,” she said. “It casts this pall and makes people frightened.”