Has ICE gone rogue? Report and anonymous letters seem to agree

Has ICE gone rogue? Report and anonymous letters seem to agree

ICE Tactics PressConference

 

In the six months, since the passing of Philadelphia’s historic ICE Holds executive order, over 200 locals across the country have adopted similar policies limiting the interactions between ICE and local police departments and jails. Also, in the last six months, community members and immigration reform leaders in Philadelphia as well as across the country have seen shifts in ICE’s tactics to continue to meet their draconian deportation quota.

Juntos worked with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network on a recently released report, “Destructive Delay”, which shows the real human cost of delays in Washington. As the President continues to postpone actions ICE agents are increasingly becoming more aggressive to expand their reach. The cost includes further civil rights violations at the hands of ICE officials as they attempt to continue to reach their quota at any cost.

“Our community has been asked to wait for President Obama to act on relief from deportations until the time is politically right. We are asked to wait to reform immigration policies that he himself has called “inhumane” and meanwhile, ICE agents are again eroding trust between communities and local government with new tactics that violate our civil and human rights.” said Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos.

Pennsylvania families, who have family members in deportation proceedings, shared their stories, how these new tactics have impacted their lives and shared their reactions to the report’s findings.  Thomas Decker, ICE’s local Field Office Director, was invited to respond to the communities concerns and correct the rogue behavior illustrated in the report but was unable to attend. Juntos has received two anonymous letters within the last five weeks from what appears to be someone in working within Immigration Customs and Enforcement. The letters confirm what community, organizers and lawyers in the greater Philadelphia area suspected, that there continues to be collaboration with ICE and the criminal justice system in certain locales in Pennsylvania.

One letter states that an ICE supervisor performed a joint operation with the police “to clean up the illegal Mexican population” in Norristown, a municipality 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Another letter denounces collaboration between ICE and jails in Montgomery, Chester and Bucks Counties. It claims that every time a person with a foreign name, mainly Latino, is released immigration is called and given a two-hour notice. “As they walk out, immigration arrests them. Everyone at the jails knows this and do not want to post bail (for those arrested) because they are scared,” reads the letter. “There are people whose cases were dismissed and immigration was still called and arrested them as they were going home.”

Pilar Molina, Juntos leader, said, “We are sending a message to the local Philadelphia ICE office. Your rogue tactics will not be tolerated in our communities. Practices that rely heavily on racial profiling harm our families and must be ended. We will not stop until you are out of our communities and our families are safe.”

The full report can be found at: http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Destructive-Delay-final1.pdf

 

Juntos Youth Leaders meet with SMARTDC Youth Leaders in Nation’s Capital

Juntos Youth Leaders meet with SMARTDC Youth Leaders in Nation’s Capital

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On October 24th Juntos Youth leaders from our leadership group, Fuerza, made their way down to Washington D.C with the mission to meet and learn from other young leaders doing similar work for their education and their rights as immigrants. Their search lead them to meet with SMART DC, a youth group of Many Languages One Voice. During this 2 day exchange we learned of all the amazing work youth leaders in D.C are doing around language access and education equity in their city and learned that the fight for public education is a shared struggled that our cities have. We also met with Son Cosita Seria, a local Son Jarocho group that focuses on bridging the gap between traditional folk music from Mexico and social justice work. After 2 days of laughing, sharing and learning, Juntos youth leaders are excited to put the new skills they learned into their local work here in Philadelphia.

Juntos is the first stop for Caravan heading to US/Mexico Border

Juntos is the first stop for Caravan heading to US/Mexico Border

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On October 11th, Juntos members opened the office doors to host members of la Caravana de Apoyo Hacia La Frontera, a caravan of New York immigrants and activists that traveled to Texas to bring attention to the border crisis. Juntos members, the Philadelphia International Action Center and members of the Philadelphia community welcomed the caravanistas and presented the work being done in the PA region, as well as materials for other cities to get more involved. Members of the caravan then shared their personal stories and their goal to raise funds for water stations for immigrants making the dangerous trek across the border.The interchanged ended with a screening of Immigrant for Sale and the PFUN Ice Holds PSA.
Many thanks to the International Action Center, NY May First Coalition & IFCO/Pastors for Peace for organizing the caravan and raising awareness to the human rights violations at the border.

Juntos leaders protest Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Juntos leaders protest Congressional Hispanic Caucus

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On October 2nd, Juntos leaders went to D.C. to participate in protests demanding that the President take executive action on immigration now. Juntos members included Maritza Guzman and Blanca Colin, Norristown residents fighting to free their husbands from detention. That evening the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was honoring President Obama at their annual gala. Just a few weeks prior that had publicly demanded that the President take executive action before thanksgiving but reversed their stance after meeting the administration. The result is over 60,000 deportations between Obama’s decision to not take action, which he announced in September, and the elections Nov. 4th. Juntos leaders joined other members of the immigrant community in protests outside the gala while NDLON  member and DACA recipient, Blanca Hernandez, attended the gala and confronted the President on his lack of action. The message was heard clearly by the President, we will continue to fight to end deportations until everyone in our community is safe.