On Saturday, just hours before ICE raids were set to begin, socialist presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ campaign used their e-mail network to warn supporters.
“ICE raids targeting 10 cities start Sunday. Know your rights,” the subject read. Appended to the e-mail were two graphics — one in English, the other Spanish — describing immigrant rights via guidance by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“It’s not strictly on point when it comes to building out a presidential campaign [to use campaign data] for the purpose other than running for president,” Ruthie Epstein, the ACLU deputy director of immigration policy, said. She reportedly claimed that the organization “played no role” in the e-mail alert.
The e-mail came from Sanders’ Press Secretary Belén Sisa, an undocumented immigrant through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. According to Vox, it read:
Multiple news outlets are reporting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is planning deportation raids against immigrant families in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, and San Francisco starting early Sunday morning.
Whether or not you are an immigrant, please share this “Know Your Rights” information widely to help those who might fall victim to the cruel and inhumane policies of the Trump administration.
Sisa stood by her actions. “It is no longer enough to talk about issues like immigration, but we must take real action to fight back and protect our undocumented community, like we did on Saturday,” she told Vox. “There isn’t much else that anybody can do other than stand up in unity.”
And Sanders has pivoted hard into this issue for his 2020 campaign, though he has deliberately stopped short of advocating for open borders. “What we need is comprehensive immigration reform,” Sanders said at a town hall in Iowa.
“If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world,” he continued. “And I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point. Can’t do it. So that is not my position.”