Rumors of a raid by immigration agents in Princeton on Friday had some community members in a panic on Saturday.
A resident whose congregation supports undocumented immigrants posted on social media Saturday that undocumented Guatemalans in Princeton had been rounded up by ICE. “The horror of the Trump presidency hit Princeton yesterday, a historical sanctuary city, when the entire Guatemalan community was deported en masse. I picked up the gardener I have been working with for nine years this morning – one of the few to escape yesterday’s raids – and was stunned by what he told me,” the person wrote.
The resident later updated his post to say that the raid was bigger than a “targeted small raid” but was not the mass deportation of much of the community that he had reported earlier. “Seems like much of the local Guatemalan community is shaken up and staying indoors today,” he wrote.
But according to advocates for the immigrant community and law enforcement officials, there was no raid in Princeton. People who work with organizations like the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund reached out to leaders in the immigrant community to confirm that there were no raids.
Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter also checked with contacts at ICE and confirmed for Planet Princeton that no raids took place.
The person who posted on social media later said it was possible that immigrants were talking about a raid in New Brunswick or another area town.
In late April, ICE agents arrested at least 10 undocumented immigrants, saying all the immigrants had ties to gangs.
This month, ICE arrested four Indonesian Christians who had been living in New Brunswick for the past decade. The men had taken refuge at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, living there for nearly a year as their pastor, Seth Kaper-Dale, a Princeton Theological Seminary alumnus, worked with the Obama Administration to keep them in the country. They said they faced persecution for their religious beliefs if they returned to Indonesia. An agreement was reached and the men could stay, as long as they periodically checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That agreement was reversed when the men were arrested this month. One man, who has a son here, has already been deported and the others are being held in a detention center in Elizabeth.