Children are scared they won't see their parents again, and Trump is tweeting about his border wall


It is just as we feared. Undocumented immigrants are being rounded up in droves by federal agents. Children are fearful they will no longer see their mothers and fathers. The country is anxious. And the President of the United States is tweeting about his border wall (and his stay at his Palm Beach resort).

Donald Trump warned of a "deportation force" during his presidential campaign, and despite assurances from his apologists toward a softening of that policy, it appears that the deportation force has begun. The Washington Post is reporting on raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in six regions, and while ICE insists they are only targeting criminals in these "enforcement actions" (the term they prefer to "raids"), undocumented women, and other non-criminals, are being swept up in the "unusually intense" raids:

A DHS official confirmed that while immigration agents were targeting criminals, given the broader range defined by Trump’s executive order they also were sweeping up non-criminals in the vicinity who were found to be lacking documentation. It was unclear how many of the people detained would have been excluded under Obama’s policy.

Federal immigration officials, as well as activists, said that the majority of those detained were adult men, and that no children were taken into custody.

“Big cities tend to have a lot of illegal immigrants,” said one immigration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly due to the sensitive nature of the operation. “They’re going to a target-rich environment.”

According to the Post, the raids have caused significant anxiety, even "terror," among undocumented immigrant communities, with children afraid to go to school, and women afraid to answer their doors.

California State Senate Leader Kevin de Leon spoke with Rachel Maddow about the panic in the community, and what is being done about it:

MADDOW: Joining us now is Kevin de Leone, the California Senate Leader who issued that strong statement following these not just unannounced but officially denied raids across his state. Senator de Leone, thank you for joining us. Appreciate your time.

DE LEON: Thank you, Rachel. I enjoy being here tonight.

MADDOW: Normally we turn the federal government for an explanation about the scale, the motivation and the results of sudden actions like this. In this case it feels like we can't trust what the government is telling us about their actions, what do you understand of the facts of what have happened in the last 48 hours or so?

DE LEON: Rachel, it's been difficult to get information out from ICA authorities. Historically under the Obama administration they have been forth come and transparent with who they are detaining, who they're deporting and the reasons why. With the Trump administration it's a new attitude, it's overly aggressive. It's a new tone and tenor and we're concerned because we tried incessantly last night to get the facts, to get the the facts. In fact, I believe even worse, that they were misleading the public. I find it quite galling that they attempted to lecture the public when it came to a sense of public misleading of what was actually happening yesterday.

But it's been very difficult given a new Trump administration. They're very overly aggressive with what they're doing and they said they did not arrest 100 individuals. in fact, we find out today it is actually 160 individuals.

MADDOW: One of the things that we saw -- we're showing footage while you're seeing the spontaneous protests that happened last night in Los Angeles. People reacting in anger and clearly in surprise to what had happened. One of the other things that we're seeing is there's, for example, a pledge that people are taking called here to stay, where people are basically pledging to bodily put themselves on the line to try to stop people from being deported, to try to block arrests, to try to help people evade the authorities or to put themselves in the way while these arrests are happening. Do you have any reaction to that? Do you understand the impetus for that? Do you feel like that might drive confrontation here?

DE LEON: Well, I can tell you this, Rachel, that there is a lot of fear, there's a lot of panic throughout the community, not just in Los Angeles, but throughout California and throughout the nation. There's a lot of consternation. The anxiety is extremely high, especially among children who are fearful that they may not, no longer see their mothers or their fathers.Children who are being dropped off at school and are fearful that come in the afternoon that standing at the curbside waiting for their mother or father, they may not actually appear. Panic and anger is so high that there has been talk about human shields, about ordinary U.S. citizens actually protecting nannies, gardeners, people who clean our homes and take care of our children and creating this sort of human chain to protect them. I don't condone this type of comportment, but I understand why the anxiety, the consternation is so high here in California.

MADDOW: State senator Kevin de Leon, the California State Senate President, thanks for your time tonight, sir. Keep in touch with us about this.

DE LEON: Absolutely, thank you.

MADDOW: we need good sources of information on this and I'm as troubled as you are that we can't get it from the federal government.

As Maddow points out, one of the many disturbing aspects of this story is the gulf between what government officials are saying, and what people on the ground are relating. Even if they cannot round up all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants at once, this sort of asymmetrical campaign of terror can disrupt a hundred lives for every one that it directly affects, which appears to be the point.

Against this backdrop of panic in the streets, Trump sits comfortably in the Mar-a-Lago resort that he is using his office to promote, taking time away from his duties hosting a world leader to tweet about nonsense:

What we have feared, despite smug assurances to the contrary, has come to pass. Undocumented immigrants are being rounded up in droves by federal agents.

Children are fearful they will no longer see their mothers and fathers. Yet the President of the United States is tweeting about his stay at his Palm Beach resort.

Mothers are afraid to open their doors, and Trump is tweeting about his border wall.

(Tommy Christopher contributed to this article.)