BRENTWOOD - Immigrant rights activists rallied today in Brentwood against a push by the federal government to deport immigrants who fled violence in Central America.
Groups, such as Make the Road New York, met at Christ Episcopal Church to urge the public to call on elected officials to halt the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrest policy.
The rally came amid rumors that ICE officers had pulled over drivers on the Southern State Parkway and raided Long Island churches and schools. The rumors were not true, but were enough to cause panic in Latino communities on Long Island.
The rumors follow an announcement by the Obama administration that ICE was ordered to round up immigrants from Central America who illegally entered the country in the last 18 months. While 121 immigrants were arrested in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia, none have been arrested here so far.
Immigration attorney Patrick Young says the fear of arrest has had a terrorizing effect.
“We have many, many workers who haven't gone to work, we have children who have been kept home from school, business owners have told me that their businesses are empty," says Young.
Homeland Security and ICE say they have no plans to carry out raids on Long Island in the near future.