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


Dear President Obama



Dear Mr. President,


Your decision to wait until the end of summer to delay administrative relief for our communities and to stall the review of the racist policies and procedures of the Department of Homeland Security’s programs like Secure Communities is a clear indicator to our community that you are okay with thousands of more families being separated and the continued violations of our human rights.  Since your election you have promised to support our community in changing a punitive immigration system but all you have really done so far is deport over 2 million people and have thousands of community members human rights violated.


This stall tactic, supported by organizations deep in your administration’s pockets, will not work to bring Republicans to the negotiating table. These organizations who have come out in support of you and your decision to prolong the suffering of our communities are more interested in playing party politics and remaining in your good graces. We, on the other hand, are interested in ensuring that all our people have access to their rights, their families, and a dignified life.


It has always been clear that we cannot depend on either party to act in the best interest of our people; that is historic to this nation. But we will not remain silent. True change can only happen when we as a community fight back and force those in power to act in the best interest of society.  We have done that and will continue to do so until we end ALL deportations and human rights violations against our community.


Mr. President, you DO have the power to take executive action NOW to end ALL deportations. Every day you do not act 1,100 people are funneled through your deportation machine so we urge you to act now, as no amount of stalling or political maneuvering can stop us from organizing for the rights of our people.





Victory! Philadelphia Signs Executive Order Ending ICE Holds!


Victory! Philadelphia Signs Executive Order Ending ICE Holds!

Today Juntos, as part of the Philadelphia Family Unity Network (PFUN), witnessed the signing of the most progressive policy in the country, which in essence will end the enforcement of ICE holds in our city. This moment represents years of organizing, coalition building, and hard work by community groups across Philadelphia against immoral deportation policies. It also represents successful partnerships with Mayor Nutter’s administration and City Council, who have worked alongside our community organizations to make Philadelphia a truly welcoming city.

Philadelphia police and prison staff have been instructed to ignore ICE holds, and not to contact ICE regarding the release of an individual from the criminal system. ICE holds have been removed from the prison system database. This policy goes further to protect the rights of Philadelphia residents than any other policy of any other major city in the country.

This sends a clear message to this nation and to President Obama that Philadelphia will no longer participate in the process of back channeling our families, friends and neighbors into a mass deportation system without due process and accountability and that local governments can and will take a stand against the separation of our families. We are proud that Philadelphia is leading the way on dismantling the deportation machine and in truly becoming a welcoming city for our communities.

We would like to thank every community leader, who despite the risk and pain, worked with us for years to defend our families and the right to remain in our communities. We have learned from each other, grown, shared our stories, cried, marched, put our bodies on the line, built power, and then…WE WON!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible. #not1more

With Love,
Juntos Community Leaders and Staff

Founding PFUN members include: 1Love Movement, JuntosNew Sanctuary Movement of PhiladelphiaPICC, and Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia.

PFUN supporters: ACANA, ACLU PA, Asian Americans United, AFRICOM, Boat People SOS Delaware Valley, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Concilio, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, The Council on American Islamic Relations, Decarcerate PA, FAVOR International, HIAS Pennsylvania, Media Mobilizing Project, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, Philadelphia Student Union, Women Against Abuse Legal Center and Women Organized Against Rape.

Is Philadelphia the next city to end ICE Holds?

PFUN Members celebrating the historic City Council Hearings

On March 12, 2014 the city of Philadelphia, for the first time ever in it’s history, held public City Council hearings on the issue of local police collaborating with federal immigration agents and the use of ICE Holds. It was an empowering day when our community marched from South Philadelphia all the way to Center City and slowly filled City Council Chambers and began speaking out against this unjust system in place in our city. These historic hearings come after months of hard work from our coalition partners and also as a result of the many years of hard work on behalf of many different organizations in the city of Philadelphia. We should all be extremely proud of the great work we are all doing for immigrant communities in the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.

Juntos, and the rest of the Philadelphia Family Unity Network (PFUN) members (1Love MovementNew Sanctuary Movement of PhiladelphiaPennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship CoalitionVictim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia) are extremely proud of our city officials for taking a stand against the unjust use of ICE Holds in our city and the separation of families through deportations. We look forward to working with the city of Philadelphia as the policy is officially drafted to ensure that our community’s voices and concerns are addressed. We also want to personally want to thank all the amazing organizations who have been lending their support in this important fight for immigrant rights in Philadelphia.

Thank you; AFRICOM, ACANA, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) of Newark, Asian Americans United, Boat People SOS Delaware Valley, Concilio, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Council on American Islamic Relations, Coalition of Labor Union Women, FAVOR International, Fight for Drivers Licenses, HIAS Pennsylvania, Media Mobilizing Project, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), The Philadelphia Student Union, Women Organized Against Rape and other organizations across the city.

To read the testimonies of all the Juntos members please see the links below

Cristobal Valencia        Adan Tlatlenco        Karla Rojas

Juana Aparicio        Maria Serna        Erika Almiron

To read all the amazing testimonies that were presented that day please
go to PICC’s website here.

For some amazing press coverage check out these pieces by NBC 10 and AL Dia News as well as the video embeded below of Councilmen James Kenney and Curtin Jones Jr. as they respond to anti-immigrant testifiers at the hearing.

Also check out our press archive for much more press coverage.