Nothing Safe about “Operation Safe City”

Operation “Safe City”: A federal retaliation against cities and communities who refuse to cooperate with a white supremacist administration

On September 12, 2017 Juntos along with over 30 local organizations and nine individuals including City Councilwomen Maria Quiñones-Sanchez and Helen Gym and Juntos executive director Erika Almiron filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Philadelphia field office in response to reports that a massive nationwide raid known internally as Operation Mega would be unleashed upon immigrant communities with a goal of detaining over 8,000 individuals before the end of ICE’s fiscal year on September 30th. Not long after, ICE publicly announced that they would be postponing Operation Mega with no indication of when and proceeded to deny the FOIA request at the Philadelphia field office.

This lack of transparency to the public demonstrates that any sense of security from ICE should not be trusted. Just eleven days after submitting the FOIA request, ICE once again proved they are a rogue agency by launching “Operation Safe City”, a massive raid operation targeting “Sanctuary Cities” like Philadelphia. Operation Safe City can only be described as a deliberate retaliation against cities and communities who refuse to cooperate with a racist, xenophobic and white supremacist administration in violating people’s rights. Philadelphia felt the brunt of this retaliation by having the largest number of people disappeared in the country, with 107 people picked up in four days, more than any other ICE office in the country.

The irony of this operation being dubbed “Safe City” does not go unnoticed by the victims of the raids. One local family reported that ICE raided their home wielding guns in front of several children, interrogating one of their daughters without parental consent and proceeded to fingerprint everyone in the household. Some who were handcuffed and removed were described as “collateral damage,” meaning they had no reason to be detained other than being immigrants and are the victims of an agency and political climate that terrorizes and tears apart families with Gestapo style tactics in the name of public safety.

Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos, said “Public safety is about all of us being safe from the hands of Trump’s criminalization machine and cannot be defined by ICE agents who knock down the doors of our homes with guns and drag people out in front of their children. This is why we need to Expand Sanctuary in cities like Philadelphia and in our state to protect our families from this new age Gestapo using immigration as a way to do ethnic cleansing. We must push for policies inside our systems that decriminalize people who are just trying to survive and ensure that our legal system and police don’t collude with ICE, which only makes everyone in our city less safe.”

Immigrants to ICE: Show Us Your Papers

Immigrants to ICE: Show Us Your Papers

As Part of National Challenge to Trump’s Deportation Force, Pennsylvanians to Press ICE’s Corruption and Impunity into Public Eye

Today, Juntos along with multiple Pennsylvania based organizations and individuals have filed FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests at the Philadelphia ICE Field Office in wake of rumors of massive national raids slated to begin on September 16th with the goal of detaining over 10,000 people across the country. This massive raid has been dubbed by ICE “Operation Mega”

Across the country, immigrant communities are filing FOIA requests demanding details regarding the planning and execution of Operation Mega and all enforcement activities as well as the procedures for targeting and capturing individuals agents encounter.

Since the election and under the direction of Tom Homan at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, Trump’s deportation force has become unchained and acting with impunity. With rumors circulating of massive raids planned by the agency, advocates plan to monitor the agency’s activity and force its corruption into public view.

In Philadelphia, our “Sanctuary City” policy prohibits local police from acting as federal immigration agents. Unfortunately, we know that the deportation machine knows no bounds and ICE has begun using other methods to gain access to our community such as waiting for people outside of our courts, detaining people in our probation offices, using portable fingerprint machines and doing illegal traffic stops.

The Trump administration has let loose an unaccountable agency against our people. The recent announcement of Operation Mega is the latest in a list of rogue tactics aimed at our community. Since the federal government isn’t checking their corruption, we are filing FOIAs locally and across the country to begin to monitor it and bring it to light.” Said Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos.

The list of organizations and individuals who signed on to the FOIA request locally are as follows:

Individuals:
Philadelphia Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez
Erika Almiron, Juntos
Abel Rodriguez, Cabrini University
Candace McKinley, Black Lives Matter Philadelphia
Jasmine Rivera, Community Activist
Maria Sotomayor, PA Immigrant & Citizenship Coalition
Peter Pedemonti, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
Troy Turner, Make The Road PA

Organizations:
Juntos
Asian Americans United
Black Live Matter Philadelphia
CASA
Casa San Jose
Casa Dominicana de Hazleton
Caucus of Working Educators
Center on Immigration at Cabrini University
Esperanza
Free Migration Project
GALAEI
Global Women’s Strike
Grupo de Apoyo e Integración Hispanoamericano
HIAS PA
Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia
Make the Road PA
New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
Payday Men’s Network
Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Philadelphia Student Union
Pennsylvania Immigrant & Citizenship Coalition (PICC)
Philadelphia Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild (POWER)
Reclaim Philadelphia
SEIU 32BJ
Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network (UUPLAN)
UNITE HERE Local 274
Up Against The Law
Vietlead
Women of Color In The Global Women’s Strike
Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP)

The end of DACA is not the end of our people!

The End of DACA is Not The End of Our People

As the Trump administration continues to target and attack immigrants, the community has one thing on their mind, Resistance.

Today Trump has launched another attack on his war on immigrant communities in this country by cancelling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Over 800,000 of our loved ones had the very little security they had ripped away from them in one fell swoop. Now with an uncertain future ahead of them, families, parents, workers and students say the only thing that can guarantee their safety now is to fight back and unite.

Our whole community fought for years for our dignity, respect and right to be in the country we have also built. Our tenacity to stand up against injustice is what won us DACA in the first place. So even in these dark times we will continue to stand up against injustice, racism and white supremacy and we will win again.” said Olivia Vazquez, Youth Organizer of Juntos

At Juntos we have amped up our organizing and training efforts in order to provide our community with the best tools to defend themselves against ICE and police; knowledge. Since election night Juntos has provided “Know Your Rights” trainings to over 1,000 families and that number is only slated to increase with the launch of our “Community Resistance Zones.” The Community Resistance Zones is a plan to teach every person in a neighborhood how to defend themselves and their neighbors during a Trump administration through door knocking, information sharing, know your rights trainings for both ICE and/or police abuse. Our first Community Resistance Zone will be in South Philadelphia to train every one of our neighbors how to resist criminalization from our homes and community.

Trump has increased the arsenal of White Supremacy by unleashing an unaccountable terror machine against Immigrants. ICE has essentially snatched people outside their front doors, chased them down in their cars, disappeared them from outside of our courtrooms in ways that can only be likened to the Gestapo. The only way we can ensure our collective safety now is by working together and protecting each other.” Said Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos

The cancellation of DACA comes at the heels of Trump’s pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his blatant racial profiling and abuse of Latinos in Arizona, thus solidifying himself as the most openly racist U.S. President in recent history. The legacy of the Trump era in this country is without a doubt one cemented in the decimation of communities of color and the support of white supremacists everywhere from Charlottesville to Arizona.

We, united, are stronger than the White supremacists both inside and outside of the White House, the Department of Justice, Police and ICE.

Sessions Continues the Trump Regime’s Lawlessness, The City of Philadelphia Fights Back  

Sessions Continues the Trump Regime’s Lawlessness, The City of Philadelphia Fights Back 

Just days after Trump pardoned racist ex-sheriff Arpaio and while thousands of families brace themselves for DACA to be rescinded because of Sessions silence, this morning, the city of Philadelphia fought back. Philadelphia sued U.S Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, over his tyrannical demands on cities and municipalities that have stood in support of the country’s immigrant population. Sessions has no power in requiring cities to be at his racist beck and call in order to receive federal funding and these acts can only be likened to gangster extortion tactics, tactics that have become the norm under the current administration. At Juntos we support the city’s decision to sue and believe this is the first step in the fight against Trump and Session’s White Supremacist agenda.

What Sessions is aiming to do is to continue the Trump administration’s lawlessness in the name of inherently racist politics. Seeing our locally elected officials take a stand for our people and against a White Supremacist regime is a commendable act. We in Philadelphia could also really benefit from reallocating the funds we are fighting for to be invested into programs that strengthen and support our communities rather maintaining and expanding an already flawed and racist criminal justice system that continues to criminalize us. ” Said Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos

What we are witnessing is without a doubt both  Trump and Sessions trying to make law enforcement in this country into what can only be described as their personal Gestapo, targeting and downright decimating communities of color. Philadelphia needs to once again be on the vanguard and take the steps necessary to defend our people. Divesting from our heavily funded police department into programs that reduce jail populations and decriminalize our existence such as ending cash bail, strengthening language access and expanding programs that reduce recidivism are ways that we can locally fight back against a white supremacist administration.