LOCALITIES HAVE OPTED TO USE GOVERNMENT RESOURCES TO ASSIST ICE
A report released on June 25th by Juntos along with the Sheller Center at Temple Law reveals the extent of collaboration between local governments and ICE in the era of the Trump administration. Many local governments in Pennsylvania have made the choice to actively engage and support federal immigration enforcement. In contrast, other local governments across the country have opted not to use their local resources to assist ICE.
Pennsylvania counties, for example, are consistently collaborating with ICE pursuant to written policies or informal practices. County jails and probation departments regularly share information about immigrants and help ICE to locate and arrest immigrants. Local police collaboration with ICE appears to be less systematic and mostly ad hoc, with individual officers choosing to become involved in federal immigration enforcement.
Further, the report provides information about the eight federal contracts in Pennsylvania to detain immigrants in county jails for civil immigration violations. “Despite the significant human costs of jailing such immigrants, counties are profiting off the growing numbers of immigrants in civil detention,” said Amy Chin-Arroyo, a Temple Law student who coauthored the report.
Most recently, some cities and towns have canceled their lucrative federal contracts to detain immigrants in county jails or prisons. “Local governments are finally recognizing the value of immigrants in their communities and rejecting the Trump administration’s tactics,” said Miguel Andrade, Communications Manager of Juntos. “We are hopeful that local governments will reconsider how to best use their resources to serve their local communities rather than the federal ICE enforcement machinery.”
Some of the key findings from the report are outlined below:
- County jails systematically share information with ICE on a weekly, if not daily basis.
- County probation officers work with ICE to entice immigrants to come in for appointments so they may be arrested by ICE.
- Pennsylvania counties receive millions of dollars for jailing ICE detainees, who are being held for civil immigration violations.
- In 2017 and 2018, the ICE detainee population in Pennsylvania increased.
- Inspection reports of these county jails have revealed that ICE detainees lack access to medical care.
- ICE has actively courted police departments in Pennsylvania to engage in federal immigration enforcement.
- The lack of formal written policies in police departments about interactions with ICE has created an opening for individual police officers to act based on their own personal inclinations.
This report was written by Amy Chin-Arroyo (’20) and Solena Laigle (’20), law students in the Social Justice Lawyering Clinic (SJLC) at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice, and their supervisor, Prof. Jennifer J. Lee. The SJLC at the Sheller Center for Social Justice is a student clinic at Temple University Beasley School of Law. Students in the clinic work first hand on social justice issues that directly impact local communities, through legal representation, community education, and policy advocacy. Len Rieser from Temple Law provided invaluable editorial assistance.
This report was prepared at the request of Juntos, a community-led Latinx immigrant organization in South Philadelphia fighting for the human rights of workers, parents, youth, and immigrants. Juntos believes that every human being has the right to a quality education and the freedom to live with dignity regardless of immigration status. Juntos combines leadership development, community organizing, and focused collaborations with other community-based and advocacy organizations to build the power of community members so they may be active agents of change and work against their own oppression.
A special thanks to Lena Graber and the staff at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center for generously sharing their FOIA results from Immigrant Legal Resource Center v.Department of Homeland Security.
Report Issued June 2019
As the attacks against our community continue, it is our duty to fight back and protect the rights of our people. This is why we are excited to announce we are hiring and looking for people to join the Juntos team. If you or someone you know is passionate about fighting for the rights of the immigrant community, then we might just have a spot for you.
For more information on how to apply, the responsibilities, qualifications, and the benefits to these potential positions click on the links below.
Also, please help us widen our search by sharing these opportunities with your networks.
En La Lucha,
City of Philadelphia Ends Controversial Contract With ICE; Expands Its “Sanctuary City” Status
As the Trump administration continues to attack immigrant communities, the city of brotherly love is once again on the vanguard of protecting immigrant rights by limiting ICE’s access to its databases.
The city of Philadelphia has taken a historic step towards limiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) arsenal for hunting down immigrants and tearing apart families. Mayor Jim Kenney has announced the end to ICE’s access to the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS) criminal justice database, and, with that, has expanded the protections afforded to the immigrant community of Philadelphia.
The controversial contract that allowed ICE access to this city-operated database, which was enacted in 2008, has been a long standing issue within our city’s immigrant community as it has been used by ICE to racially profile our people and decimate our community with its gestapo style tactics. By ending ICE’s access to PARS, we are effectively reducing their ability to disappear our loved ones and tear apart our families. We are one of the first, if not the first city in the entire country to expand the meaning of “sanctuary” and are once again on the vanguard of immigrant rights by protecting our community and their data.
This would not have been possible had it not be for the labor, organizing, and advocacy being done by community members who have been directly impacted by ICE’s hate and violence for years.
“Today Philly has shown once again it is not afraid to do what is right for our communities. We now serve as a real beacon of light to other cities across the country who may be asking themselves ‘What more can I do to protect families who are being torn apart?’ Ending ICE’s access to PARS helps protect some of our families from the grips of deportation and helps to ensure the city isn’t complicit in aiding ICE todo so. We look forward to building more policies together with the city to further protect our loved ones and to expand Philadelphia’s Sanctuary City status.” said Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos.
A recent report by Propublica and the Philadelphia Inquirer named Philadelphia’s ICE field office as the most aggressive in the country. Just months ago, close to 50 people were picked up by ICE in a 6 day massive raid. Meaning 50 families were torn apart at the hands of Philadelphian ICE agents. ICE has already admitted to abusing its access to PARS and using racial profiling as well as collateral damage to terrorize our communities. By ending the PARS contract, the city has aided in putting up a line of defence for those who are most impacted in the wake of the terrors ICE has been committing.
Ending the PARS contract is a powerful step towards protecting the lives and the sanctity of immigrant families in Philadelphia. Juntos looks forward to working with the city to continue fighting for the rights and protection of not only of the immigrant community, but all marginalized communities as well.
Locking Up Our Families is NOT the Solution!
Pence, Trump, and Sessions have spent the last year and a half using their power to further engrain white supremacy into the trenches of our nation. They use the rhetoric of “Law and Order” to tear families apart and criminalize migrants, asylum seekers, and Black and Brown people. By eroding protections for our people like DACA & TPS, allowing ICE agents to enact dangerous raids with impunity as well as criminalizing migration and asylum seekers, we are experiencing the oppression and devastation of our community at an unprecedented level not seen in decades.
Detaining families together is not a valid solution to family separation. People seeking refuge do not deserve to be met with chain link fences and trauma. Children should not be growing up in jail cells. We need to expand the scope of our outrage to include the inhumanity of the detention of thousands of immigrants all over the country. The emotional and physical violence inflicted on our families by the U.S. is irreparable, and to then further rob them of their freedom is revolting at best.
We have seen the effects of this in the streets of Philadelphia, where almost 50 people were disappeared in one week last month as a result of dangerous ICE raids, leaving many Philadelphia children separated from their families. Families are ripped apart right here and in the wake of so much injustice, it is more important than ever that we enact local change. It is time for us to shut down the Berks Family Detention Center and free our families that have been detained indefinitely right outside of Philadelphia. It is time for us to expand the meaning of sanctuary and make sure we are a true Sanctuary City by ending the dangerous P.A.R.S. contract with ICE as well as ending data sharing with them.
We must take action now to create tangible change for our people and create a precedent for this country to combat the brutality it has inflicted. If we continue to simply demand that families belong together, we will easily see the ballooning of more family detention centers like Berks Family Detention Center and mass incarceration. We can do better, at the border and in Philadelphia, to put an end to this nightmare.