A meme making the rounds on social media has turned out to be a vital piece of information for those vulnerable to being arrested under the Trump administration's immigration crackdown.
The new wave of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids that began over the weekend, targeting undocumented migrants in major cities around the United States, weren't as large as initially feared, Still, the #KnowYourRights meme being passed around on social media proved to be helpful, if not essential, for those at risk, as additional raids and arrests could continue throughout the week.
Various versions of the below instructions from the ACLU have been floating around using the aforementioned hashtag, providing advice on what to do should someone encounter ICE.
Even politicians have gotten in on the act, spreading information and graphics on their social media accounts.
As the President showed off his white nationalism for the world to see, #TeamOcasio dispatched Know Your Rights teams to show our neighbors how to protect their civil liberties w/ ICE & others.
Local businesses asked for stacks of flyers, too.
Thank you to all who came out 💜🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/38RFzUwM4b
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 14, 2019
The information is reaching those in need, according to an anecdote published in the New York Times. One teenager in New Jersey followed the instructions and, despite persistent knocks on the door from what she believes was ICE, avoided leaving her home.
The Wall Street Journal detailed similar incidents that occurred in Manhattan and Brooklyn:
In New York City, ICE agents went to residences in the Harlem section of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, the person said. The agents were rejected by people at the residences because they didn’t have warrants, according to the person. New York City officials said Sunday there was no indication that they had returned.
The below undated video shows this knowledge of rights in action.
ICE: “This is a warrant.”
Activist: “No it’s not.”
This citizen stopped ICE from arresting 2 undocumented immigrants because he knew his rights.
As #ICERaids start today, know your legal rights & proceed accordinglypic.twitter.com/i9aGYdf1V2
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) July 14, 2019
The raids come on the heels of a volatile few weeks of debate around the border camps where migrants are being detained. Reports of inhumane conditions continue to flood news outlets with many of the Democratic candidates for president visiting the shelters and decrying the near-squalor detainees are forced to live in.
Of course, the Trump administration has continued to downplay these reports. During a recent visit to a pair of detention centers in Texas, Vice President Mike Pence defended the camps. Meanwhile, Trump has hailed the camps as, "well run and clean" despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
There are no details currently as to how many people were actually arrested in this round of raids. According to the Times, approximately 2,000 people in total were expected to be targeted but, so far, there have been only a few reported arrests.
The Trump administration is planning massive immigration raids in major cities across the country, and possibly beyond: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco. #NoRaidsNoCamps #NoHumanIsIllegal pic.twitter.com/cJLJMDQPrx
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) July 14, 2019
Even though we still don't know the official numbers, the "#KnowYourRights" efforts, both on social media and via in-person canvassing, have seen a dramatic rise in visibility as warnings for raids have mounted.
And, if these anecdotes are any indication, "#KnowYourRights" is having a big impact in protecting the most vulnerable.