16-year-old girl shields family from possible ICE raid in Passaic

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New Jersey was not expected to see a lot of immigration activity this past weekend after President Donald Trump announced a nationwide sweep of immigrants living in the country illegally.

But a Passaic teen says she shielded her parents from a group of men who identified themselves as police officers and immigration agents.

News 12 New Jersey has agreed to conceal the family’s identity out of security concerns. Laysha, 16, and her three sisters were born in the United States. But she says her parents are not in the country legally.

Laysha says the encounter happened Sunday around 1 a.m. at her family’s home in Passaic. She says two men pounded on her door and said they were police and ICE agents.

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“I said, ‘I'm not going to open door - you said you didn't need to come into my house. And you don't have papers - so I'm not going to open it,’” Laysha says.

She says the two men left but came back a few hours later.

“It was a lot scarier then. This time they were banging on the door and went through the backyard and started banging on my window with flashlights, saying it was state police and needed to come into the house,” Laysha says.

News 12 New Jersey has not been able to confirm if the people at Laysha’s door were law enforcement. Passaic Mayor Hector Lora says this is what he fears could happen since the sweeps were announced – someone pretending to be law enforcement.

“What if it's individuals with nefarious intent - identifying themselves as law enforcement or ICE agents trying to enter into a home?" he asks.

Lora says federal agencies would typically coordinate with local police departments and that did not happen this time.

Laysha says she is fearful for her parents.

"I don't have anything to worry about - but it's them. They are immigrants here, I know they work really hard every day,” she says. “I have younger siblings and my older sister who is just 19 and can't be responsible for us. She's a kid too.”

Lora says anyone who may find themselves in a similar position should contact local police.

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