NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Pioneer Valley Workers Center is warning local immigrants after seeing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in the area Monday.
The advocacy group says armed members of ICE were seen in Hampshire County on Monday.
Rose Bookbinder said the PVWC has verified that three black SUV vans with armed ICE agents were seen on Route 9 in Hadley, heading towards Amherst.
Bookbinder is reminding migrants who are taking sanctuary in western Massachusetts that they have the right to remain silent and not reveal their legal status if they are questioned.
“We alerted our immigrant members to remind them about their rights, especially in workplace raids,” Bookbinder explained. “What we’ve seen is ICE will enter the workplace and say ‘everybody with papers on this side and everybody without papers on this side,’ and people panic. And what you are doing is outing yourself, and that is something you don’t have to do.”
The New York Times reports that more than 2,000 migrants living in the U.S. illegally were targeted in raids nationwide last week, though only 35 people were actually detained.
ICE has not confirmed whether any raids had taken place locally and there’s been no independent confirmation of Pioneer Valley Workers Center sighting of ICE officials.