Immigrant communities a "ghost-town" during threat of ICE raids in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Getting anyone to open the door on Pitner Road in Spring Branch was challenging Sunday.

The area is heavily populated with immigrants, who say they are scared to be outside, knowing ICE-targeted enforcement operations set to ramp up.

Teams from FIEL went door to door trying to pass out fliers to inform people of their rights. They chose that area because they say they got word that ICE was at an apartment complex Saturday.

"We know there were two gentlemen who were picked up here yesterday from multiple reports from people in the area," Cesar Espinosa with FIEL said.

Espinosa said even though they were trying to help people and offer to bring food to their homes so they did not have to leave, people were still hesitant to open the door.

RELATED: Churches opening up for undocumented immigrants ahead of planned ICE raids Sunday

"They don't know if we are really in a community organization or police agency," Espinosa said.

Matthew Belcher was at an apartment complex in the area to visit his fiancee who is from Honduras. He said it was a ghost-town outside compared to what it would usually be on a Sunday afternoon.

"My family and nobody else here wants to go outside," Belcher said. "That makes going to work even harder and surviving, which is hard enough as it is."

ICE issued a statement Sunday saying:

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. As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security. In fact, 90 percent of aliens arrested by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations component in FY2018 had either a criminal conviction(s), pending criminal charge(s), were an ICE fugitive, or illegally reentered the country after previously being removed. However, all of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and - if found removable by final order - removal from the United States.

Follow Mycah Hatfield on Twitter and Facebook.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.