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Immigrant Communities In Wichita Fearful After Recent ICE Enforcement

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement
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ICE officials conduct an enforcement operation in Georgia last week. More than 680 individuals were arrested across the country, including 32 in Kansas.

A local immigration activist says recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests across the Midwest have immigrant communities on edge.

Guadalupe Magdaleno is the executive director of Sunflower Community Action, a nonprofit advocacy group in Wichita. She says the reports of widespread enforcement by immigration officials have fueled fear and rumors.

“The community has been calling us nonstop," she says. "They have a lot of questions where they’re trying to find out if it’s true, what’s going on, and who are they after."

Read a statement from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on recent arrests

ICE says in a fact sheet sent out on Monday that 235 individuals were arrested in several Midwestern states last week, including 32 in Kansas. The agency says the arrests were part of routine operations that targeted "convicted criminal aliens" and people "in violation of our nation's immigration laws." A January executive order prioritizes undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions for enforcement.

Download the ICE fact sheet.

Magdaleno says her organization is encouraging community members to live their lives normally and not panic, but to also be prepared.

"We encourage the community to learn what are their rights, and what is the process, what are they expected to do, and what can they expect police or ICE to do," she says.

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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