Facebook groups warn immigrants about ICE raids, checkpoints


The Trump administration's recent orders widely expanding the number of immigrants subject to deportation have many fearing any and all police encounters. In order to stay ahead of police and immigration authority movements, some are turning to private Facebook groups to share the locations of checkpoints and arrests in their areas, as well as provide useful advice for those trying to stay on the right side of the law.

Vocativ found several online groups operating in areas of California, Texas, North Carolina, New York, Illinois, Tennessee, and Georgia. Users in these groups have shared information including whether there are checkpoints on local roads; photos and locations of pulled over police cars in certain areas; and advice on encounters with cops and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In one group, Retenes California, which counts more than 115,000 members on Facebook, users and administrators have recently posted tips for how to properly follow driving safety rules to avoid getting pulled over by the police.

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While some of these Facebook groups have existed for some time, many have been formed in response to President Donald Trump taking office. And the groups appear to be seeing spikes in membership after Trump announced a host of new and expanded policies that allow for more, and speedier, deportations. For example, one group dedicated to locating immigration checkpoints in El Paso, Texas, added nearly 2,000 members since it was founded last week, on February 16. Facebook searches for the words "redadas (raids)," "ICE alerta (ICE alert)," or "retenes (checkpoints)" turn up dozens of similar groups.

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"Good morning, remember to share what happens in our surroundings!! #thanks," the administrator of the El Paso group recently wrote in Spanish. In an earlier post, the admin urged others not to report the group for deletion.

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One innovation that has emerged in a few of these groups is the use of a walkie-talkie application called Zello. The app, created in Austin, Texas, has been known as a tool used by ISIS fighters to share extremist sermons and other information using as little bandwidth and battery power as possible. Now members of a California-based checkpoint group have created a channel on Zello to conduct audio broadcasts of possible checkpoint locations in real time. The group shared a video on Facebook about joining a specific Zello channel:

While these groups may be providing valuable information for undocumented immigrants trying to stay in the U.S., social media generally seems to have contributed to widespread false rumors regarding ICE raids around the country. For their part, ICE has flatly denied using "indiscriminate" checkpoints.

The post Facebook Groups Warn Immigrants About ICE Raids, Checkpoints appeared first on Vocativ.

SEE: Photos from the Day Without Immigrants protest:
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Day Without Immigrants boycott 2017
Demonstrators march during the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in Washington, DC, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A restaurant worker photographs passing demonstrators as they march during the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in Washington, DC, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Signs are posted for customers of Blue Ribbon, a restaurant, stating that they are closed in solidarity with "A Day Without Immigrants" protests in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A restaurant on Georgia Avenue is closed in honor of the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in Washington, D.C., U.S. February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
A sign in the window of Ted's Bulletin Restaurant on 14th St proclaims it closed in honor of the "Day Without Immigrants" protest in Washington, D.C., U.S. February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: A Vietnamese cafe and a dry cleaning business stand closed in solidarity with the 'A Day Without Immigrants' boycott/strike, February 16, 2017 in New York City. Across the country hundreds of restaurants and eateries are closing for the day to protest President Trump's immigration agenda and to highlight the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and life. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - FEBRUARY 16: Protesters march in the streets outside the Texas State Capital on 'A Day Without Immigrants' February 16, 2017 in Austin, Texas. The crowd, which grew to well over a thousand participants, marched from the Austin City Hall to the Texas State Capital. Across the country hundreds of restaurants and eateries are closing for the day to protest President Trump's immigration policies and to highlight the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and life. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 16: A business is closed as Latino immigrants across Philadelphia skip work on Thursday as part of a 'Day Without Immigrants' campaign on February 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Many businesses are closed in hope of showing their economic power and protesting Donald Trump's immigration policies. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 16: An exterior view of Morning Glory Diner February 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With the support of the owner, the majority of the staff, which is Latino, did not come to work as part of a 'Day Without Immigrants' campaign which is aimed at showing their economic power and protesting Donald Trump's immigration policies. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: A sign in the window of the popular Brooklyn restaurant Prime Meats explains their solidarity with the 'A Day Without Immigrants,' boycott/strike on February 16, 2017 in New York, United States. Across the country hundreds of restaurants and eateries are closing for the day to protest President Trump's immigration agenda and to highlight the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and life. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 16: Morning Glory Diner sits empty February 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With the support of the owner, the majority of the staff, which is Latino, did not come to work as part of a 'Day Without Immigrants' campaign which is aimed at showing their economic power and protesting Donald Trump's immigration policies. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
A sign posted for customers hangs on the window of Blue Ribbon, a restaurant, stating that they are closed in solidarity with "A Day Without Immigrants" protests in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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