The supposed purpose of ICE's “Operation 13”, as the raids were dubbed, was to target members of MS-13, a violent Salvadoran gang. This operation was concieved, no doubt, in response to the politicized killings in New Jersey, in which a chief suspect might have had ties with MS-13. Whether this was the true purpose of the raids or not, is impossible to verify.
You see, supposedly ICE was targetting these evil “criminal illegal aliens” anti-migrant advocates rail on all the time. But the 36 people ICE arrested are being sent away on immigration charges, not criminal charges. The Boston Globe explains:
Because the 36 people were arrested because of their immigration status, federal officials refused to release their names. The agency's policy is to release the names of only those arrested on criminal charges, said spokesman Michael Gilhooly.
Immigrant-rights groups said this week that families told them the raids had resulted in the detention of several noncriminal immigrants.
One group said that at least seven Salvadorans were detained in Revere, Everett, East Boston, and Lynn, although they did not have criminal records. A lawyer with Greater Boston Legal Services said his office talked to a handful of people swept up in the raids, including at least one who did not have a criminal record.
I think the community reports and the lawyer provide pretty solid evidence that ICE was engaged in non-gang related activity. That's why people are protesting these raids.
So we can't verify that 36 people deported actually were gang members, because their names were released. And ICE is pretending the people that don't have criminal records don't exist, or at least they're not commenting on them. It seems pretty plain to me that something is going on here beyond just “Operation 13”.
Let's take this in a different direction. Let's assume that we can trust everything ICE says (we have no other choice since they make very little information public). Let's say 36 dangerous gang members were deported yesterday without any criminal charges. It's important to think of the global consequences of something like this.
That means these people can walk free from their crimes and terrorize people in El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. What is worse gang networks are even stronger in these regions and they can send people back into the United States better than any smuggler can. This policy of deportation doesn't make anything better. On the contrary it is making things worse. It is strengthening the very gangs that ICE is supposedly targeting.
The truth of the Boston MS-13 raids is that ICE is actually targeting wider migrant communities with initiatives like this. Even if ICE isn't, U.S. citizens aren't being protected when they are sending these people away, it is making things worse and it is forcing more migrants to leave the violent conditions these gangs are creating in Emigration States. People have to start thinking about the issues asssociated with migration globally if anything is going to change.