After more than 680 undocumented immigrants were arrested across the country last week, rumors of raids in Gainesville have circulated through the city.

But they aren’t true, according to the central and northern Florida public affairs officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“ICE has not conducted any law enforcement actions in the Gainesville area,” Spicer wrote in an email.

Reuters reported on the nationwide raids Feb. 13.

The rumors of similar events in Gainesville, which have raised concern among residents, allege ICE officials raided two construction sites in the city and picked up undocumented workers there.

On Monday, about 24 people gathered at the Emmanuel Mennonite Church, located at 1236 NW 18th Ave., to discuss what could be done to help immigrants who they believed had been arrested.

Richard MacMaster, the group’s coordinator, said he heard from a Gainesville Sun reporter that undocumented workers were picked up earlier in the day from at least two construction sites on Southwest 13th Street, one belonging to Trimark Properties and the other to UF Health Shands Hospital.

“We worked hard to make Gainesville a Welcoming City, and (the raids) run counter to the spirit of the community.”

Rossana Passaniti, a Shands spokesperson said she has listened as rumors circulated, but to her knowledge, no ICE officials have come to the site.

“I have no idea how that rumor got started,” she said.


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Meryl Kornfield, a UF journalism senior, is the editor-in-chief. Born in Miami, FL, she first worked at her high school newspaper, The Palmetto Panther. She has since interned at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, The Palm Beach Post and The Gainesville Sun.