HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have begun their raids in Houston, reportedly rounding up at least half a dozen people and taking them into custody Monday.
Immigration rights group FIEL Houston said ICE agents were spotted in at least three separate locations Monday including two apartment complexes.
Andrik Zavalo, a high school student, said him and his family were inside his home at Brookdale Village Apartment in Southeast Houston when he heard a knock at the door.
“At first I heard, ‘police, open up.’ And I was suspicious because why would the police be at my door. I went up to the window and looked and it said on their backs ‘ICE,’” Zavalo said.
“As soon as we heard the knock, we got inside. We told everyone we could. We locked the door, turned off the lights and hid,” Zavalo continued.
According to Cesar Espinosa, the executive director at FIEL Houston said ICE agents ultimately left Zavalo’s home because they didn’t have a warrant to enter.
“Folks should know their rights and they should assert their rights. They should not open the door, should not talk to immigration, sign any paper work. They should also record any interactions so that we can keep accountability with immigration,” Espinosa said.
Authorities say the raids target immigrants who have previously received deportation orders, but Espinosa said that’s not always the case in some instances.
“Immigration has very explicitly said that there may be collateral damage during these raids, meaning that they may pick up somebody but if somebody is in the same apartment or walking around, or in the apartment complex, then they’re still at danger for deportation,” Espinosa said.
Espinosa confirmed at least six people were picked up from El Paraiso Apartments in Southwest Houston Monday. It’s unclear if the six were a family unit or individuals.
“It’s pretty scary because the thought of one of your family members deporting and not seeing them again is kind of sad,” Zavalo said.
FIEL Houston said ICE authorities would not comment on the raids because they are currently active investigations.