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CHICAGO: ICE agents shoot father in terror raid of family home

Leslie Willis  |  Issue: May | June 2017

CHICAGO – It was just after 6 a.m. on March 27. As the Torres household was waking up, ICE agents burst into the home with guns drawn, ordering the family of eight men, women and children out into the street. Felix Torres, Sr., 53, was immediately shot as he opened the door to find out what the commotion was all about. As of early April, he is still in the hospital in critical condition.

No member of the Torres family is undocumented and no convincing explanation from any branch of government has been provided for this home invasion and the trampling of their rights.

The family has lived in their home in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest Side for at least 30 years. Torres’ daughter Carmen said, “They didn’t say anything. They just came in and pointed pistols in our faces and dragged us out,” In response to ICE’s allegation that Felix Torres, Sr. pointed a gun at them, Carmen said, “It’s a lie when they say he was holding a gun. He doesn’t even own a gun. They shot my dad … and I don’t know why.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is calling this a “botched raid,” but they blame the Torres family for the shooting. The Chicago Police Department, while claiming it had nothing to do with the raid, is investigating the gun allegations against Torres. So while the Torres family is still being submitted to trauma and pain, they must also fight against criminal allegations.

The community needs answers. Was this really a “botched raid” or just a continuation of the reign of terror being perpetrated against Chicago’s immigrant communities?

What happened to the Torres family is an example to all that the scapegoating of immigrants is an opening to allow the denial of the rights of all. The future of our communities lies in the ability to stand together in support of those victimized by law enforcement agencies.

We must reject the idea that police and military force will protect our communities from harm. What will protect us is standing up in unison for our right to live free of this kind of terror.

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