NEW REPORT FINDS THAT PENNSYLVANIA LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE HEAVILY INVOLVED WITH FEDERAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

NEW REPORT FINDS THAT PENNSYLVANIA LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE HEAVILY INVOLVED WITH FEDERAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

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.

 

The report is a joint effort from the Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple Law School and Juntos.
Interlocking Systems: How Pennsylvania Counties and Local Police Are Assisting ICE to Deport Immigrants is available online here.

All documents obtained from counties and police departments through the Right to Know Law are posted here.

 

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