Undocumented immigrant to leave sanctuary, risk visit with ICE

Nine-year-old Natalia Robles has put her plea into a letter that she read out loud at a news conference today. “My dad is Jose Robles. I'm turning 10 years old this July 29. But it will be my saddest birthday ever knowing that people in this world want to separate me and my dad”

Jose Robles can hug his 9-year-old daughter, but he can't go home with her. An undocumented immigrant, he's lived and worked here nearly 20 years. He's spent the last year in sanctuary at Seattle’s Gethsemane Lutheran Church to avoid deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This weekend, ICE is expected to conduct deportation raids nationwide. ICE won't confirm the plan, but President Donald Trump said at the White House today, “It starts on Sunday, and they're going to take people out.”

Asked if the Seattle area will see raids, ICE responded with a statement: "Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations."

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But the lawyers advising Robles are advising everyone to be ready.

“Nationally they haven't placed us as one of the targets, but we know that they are ramping up their activity because of the calls that we get to our statewide hotline,” said Sandy Restrepo, of Colectiva Legal Del Pueblo, the People’s Law Collective.

The city of Seattle is tweeting that raids aren't expected here but in multiple languages is telling immigrant communities to call for help if they see ICE activity.

Robles will appear at the ICE office in Tukwila on Wednesday to ask for a stay of deportation that will let him leave sanctuary and rejoin his family. But there's no guarantee he won't be taken into custody and sent back to Mexico.

“He is essentially putting himself at their mercy, and we're hoping with all the support that we have and with his legal case that they will do the right thing,” Restrepo said.

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