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