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Local Police Should Not Collaborate With Immigration and Customs Enforcement

| July 18, 2018

collusion police ice

Iced. (OtherWords)

By Chia-Chia Wang

In the early hours of a winter day in 2017, “Laura” — a Montclair, New Jersey resident and single mother of four — received a visit from the local police, responding to a household dispute that had taken place hours beforehand.


The police took Laura to Montclair jail, where they inquired into her immigration status. Laura refused to reply to a question about her “papers.” That evening, she was transferred to Essex County Jail, which has a contract to house Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees.

Three days later, she was taken into ICE custody and detained at Elizabeth Detention Center in Union County, where she would remain imprisoned for three and a half months.

I first heard Laura’s story through my work addressing conditions in detention centers and advocating for policies to stop detentions and deportations. I’ve met hundreds of families whose lives are thrown into chaos, who spend months or years in detention, and who get deported to countries they haven’t seen in decades.

Often it’s a chance encounter with law enforcement that sets these events in motion. Because of this, I spend a lot of time trying to keep ICE out of our communities.

As the abuses perpetrated by ICE gain widespread attention, so too do the calls to abolish the agency. But while we’re working to end ICE long-term, we also have proven, effective methods to reduce the harm they’re causing now. These include robust sanctuary policies that end the collusion with local law enforcement that ICE relies so heavily on.

ICE is notorious for racial profilinghuman rights violations, and for a lack of accountability and transparency.

other-wordsIn 2017, immigration enforcement activities went up 30 percent nationally, and 42 percent in my state of New Jersey. This means more New Jersey immigrant communities are being torn apart. It means that New Jersey is losing important labor force and tax contributions. It means taxpayers are footing the bill for costly and immoral immigrant detention. And it means more children will grow up without their parents.

This pattern is being repeated in states all over the country.

Here, we’re using sanctuary policies to protect our communities from these abuses. This March, after years of public pressure, Hudson County ended its controversial partnerships between local law enforcement and ICE. Cities like Newark and Jersey City— where many residents are foreign-born and may have family members with no or pending immigration status –—have adopted strong and meaningful policies to not collaborate with ICE.

Hundreds of localities are considering, or have passed, sanctuary policies to preserve privacy, protect data, ensure access to services, and cut ties with the federal government’s increasingly aggressive immigration raids, detentions, and deportations.

For Laura and her family, policies like these could have helped prevent the devastating consequences of her incarceration. While detained she lost her job, and her children were forced to stay with her abusive partner. Though Laura is out on immigration bond, she still hasn’t reunited with her children and is living in poverty.

And she’s now facing deportation.

The good news is that sanctuary policies work. According to a study by the Migration Policy Institute, the majority of ICE arrests rely on some form of collaboration with local law enforcement, and jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with the agency see arrest and detention numbers go down.

Here in New Jersey, I’ve seen the destruction caused when ICE is allowed to operate unchecked, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done — in coalitions across the state — to protect the rights and lives of all New Jersey residents. Thousands of others are campaigning hard in other states, too.

Until the federal government stops its relentless persecution of immigrants, it’s up to us to provide refuge in whatever ways we can.

Chia-Chia Wang is the organizing and advocacy director in the American Friends Service Committee’s Newark, New Jersey office. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

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24 Responses for “Local Police Should Not Collaborate With Immigration and Customs Enforcement”

  1. Agkistrodon says:

    When YOU take an Oath to faithfully execute the Laws and defend Constitution of the United States, get back to me. Until then, just keep living under your umbrella of freedom that those who do provide YOU.

  2. Freddy says:

    If they are here illegally I have no problem with deporting them back to their country. Abolishing ICE is a stupid idea that only liberals can dream of.

  3. Richard says:

    Another left liberal complaining about Obama’s previous policies. Cry baby!

  4. Veteran says:

    In the country illegally, you are a criminal, period, end of conversation. Goodbye.

  5. Mikey Eyes says:

    And the moral of the story is: Don’t break our laws! She put her family in this position! In your next article try using the word Illegal it’s relevant to this matter!

  6. Brian says:

    I pulled up this outfit’s website and could almost hear Kumbaya coming from the screen. They are a bunch of fanatics who espouse that there should be no borders, no immigration policy, and of course no ICE. One link is called “sanctuary everywhere.” Very strange that enforcing the law has become so controversial.

  7. Lazaruis says:

    This article is so unamerican!!
    They are criminals that cross our borders illegally.
    This article boarders on treason .
    You should take this down .
    Seriously.

  8. A Concerned Observer says:

    Ms. Wang: Change “Should Not” to “MUST and I’ll agree with your stories heading. As for the rest of the article, similar changes are needed… What part of “Illegal Alien” do you not understand?

  9. Arlene says:

    All of this is a bunch of nonsense. First of all, if people would show their papers, and cooperate with law enforcement [if they have nothing to hide what is the problem] they would not be detained. Funny how legal Americans have to abide by the laws, but illegal don’t. Americans end up in jail, illegals end up protesting, and then abolishing our law enforcement. Sure, then everyone can just do as they please, and get away with anything they wish to do. If any of us tried going to another Country, and broke their laws, demanded they do things to accommodate us, give us EPT cards, free education, free healthcare, all paid by their citizens, then we push drugs,form gangs, kill their people, then march, and say,” FU to that Country… we will bring you down” how long would you be in that Country before they throw you in jail, or send you back where you came from? Only in America!

  10. oldtimer says:

    these people are NOT NJ residents they are ILLEGAL aliens

  11. LEGAL US Citizen says:

    Chia-Chia,
    I will agree to your opinions only after you have lived an entire year in a community that does not have any law enforcement within a 50 mile radius. Once you have PROVEN what a great idea you and your ilk have, I am sure the rest of the nation will jump on board. Looking forward to hearing from you next year. :)

  12. gmath55 says:

    ” It means taxpayers are footing the bill for costly and immoral immigrant detention.” LOL
    It means the illegal immigrants are costing taxpayers millions in FREE this, FREE that, and the list goes on! Glad ICE is doing their job. You Chia-Chia Wang and others like you don’y like it can move ASAP!

  13. Dave says:

    Couldnt have said it better, local police put here to protect families are working in cahoots with an agency they have nothing to do with. We are all immigrants , only difference is this country allowed us to cross the borders illegally and work on our status while today they are being detained and shipped off. These are dark days for our country.GIVE US YOUR TIRED, YOUR WEAK, YOUR POOR.

  14. Patrick says:

    You have to be kidding me with this statement about not cooperating with ICE! Do you not understand the word ILLEGAL? I don’t give aa damn how long they have been here Illegally deport their asses! Stop complaining about law officer enforcing the law or move to California with all the other snowflakes!

  15. Bill says:

    Sanctuary cities provide a magnet for criminals. Every illegal is a criminal, and they need to be treated as such. Family separation is the result of a criminal act.

  16. john bixler says:

    Lets put ICE at all polling places and stop these people from voting the DEMS in that love them so much

  17. woodchuck says:

    Let the police and ice do there jobs arresting people that break the law.

  18. Nancy N. says:

    Wow, such ugliness in the comments here. All I can say is, if any of you all consider yourselves Christians…you need to spend some time re-reading your Bible.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If the police in any jurisdiction in the United States won’t do their duties to arrest and detain any person who has committed an illegal act contrary to the laws of this nation, then they are not carrying out their duties to the oath of office which includes “I Swear to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America”. I believe that document covers this problem completely. If the police won’t do their sworn duties after taking their oaths of office, Fire them and hire some who will! If the police attempt to hinder any Federal law enforcement effort then they should be arrested and jailed right alongside the criminals they are trying to protect. There is no difference in helping a drug smuggling suspect, a terrorism suspect, an international bank robber, or these illegal immigrants. If they break the laws of this nation the police are obligated to enforce their sworn duties. The police are not and were not hired as judges or jurors to decide who is guilty or innocent, or which laws they will enforce. The police are enforcement and the judiciary is to adjudicate according to the laws set forth in our Constitution. The Law is the Law and it will be enforced!

  20. Arlene says:

    Show me in the Bible where it says Christians have to be door mats. The first century Christians, and the Israelites, did not accept foreigners until they knew each and everyone of them, where they came from, why they wanted to join with the them and be part of their ways and culture. That’s the important part… they needed to conform to their new Country’s laws and way of life, and they certainly did NOT accept Any criminals. You had to earn your way to be part of their Country. Not everyone was excepted. It was privilege, not a right of just anyone that came along.

  21. D says:

    Since when is a Christian a doormat? Do you how many people and mostly foreigners that the Christian crusades massacred and slaughtered jus because they didnt believe the same religion? God is great but christianity is one of the biggest terrors of our history.

  22. Brandon Cross says:

    To D:
    We can all pick through history and find atrocities that have occurred by religious followers.
    If you were to look at history overall for the past 900+ years since the Crusades I think this time was an exception rather than the rule of Christianity.
    Not preaching… yet as a Christian I believe All of God’s children can accept him and his Son as their Saviors,
    Any time… remember life is short and can end at any moment, but eternity, as defined, is Forever?

    Just Sayin

  23. Arlene says:

    To D:
    Maybe those people were not true Christians. Christian means being Christ like. Jesus never advocated violence in any form. He said;” by their fruits you will recognize my disciples”. Slaughter and massacre are not the fruits he had in mind!

  24. Agkistrodon says:

    To D” Do you know how many Christians, the Muslims slaughtered as they tried to conquer Europe. They made it all the way to Spain. It goes both ways. No religion has the “monopoly” on killing. Every religion throughout history has all claimed to preach love and peace, until they come across another religion. And before that is was humans killing humans. It is in our DNA, no different than any other species. Some think, they are more civilized. That all depends on which side of the window you are “looking through”. Humans have been killing other humans since the beginning of humans. It’s sad, but those are the facts.

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