Atulya Dora-Laskey Jan 14, 2019 Thoughts/Opinions Uncategorized

Resisting I.C.E.: Radical or American?


When President Trump instituted his “Zero Tolerance” policy, he instituted a policy that empowered I.C.E. to separate over 2,500 children from their parents. Leaked audio from I.C.E. detention centers painted a grim picture of children crying for their families, and dozens of now infamous photos of distraught and sobbing children quickly blanketed social media.

The outrage in Michigan was enormous. On Jun. 30, over 1,000 protestors met for a “Families Belong Together” rally in Lansing and dozens of people took the podium on the steps of the state capitol to decry the agency’s cruel practices. The most notable speaker was thencandidate Gretchen Whitmer.

At the rally, Whitmer eloquently stated “I think we need a governor who’s going to stand up to the federal government when they violate our rights,” elaborating that what I.C.E. was doing was “fundamentally cruel and unconstitutional and undemocratic.”

Governor Whitmer’s comments cut right to the core of I.C.E.’s inhuman practices. Yet despite her strong stance, Governor Whitmer hasn’t announced any action or policy to push back against the violation of our rights by the federal government in the six months since the rally.

Perhaps the Governor’s disheartening silence after her exemplary criticism of I.C.E. is representative of what a lot of Americans feel –– we know that what I.C.E. is doing is wrong but we think resisting the agency is too radical. When, in reality, resisting I.C.E. is a matter of following what the Founding Fathers and Constitution tells us to do.

The most common form of resistance: following the 4th amendment and requiring warrants. When non-federal law enforcement come into contact with undocumented immigrants, I.C.E. will often request that these people be detained until the agency can obtain a warrant for deportation.

Some areas comply with I.C.E.’s warrantless request, while others do not. Areas that don’t comply with I.C.E. unless it has a warrant are called “sanctuary cities” or “sanctuary counties.” There are over 60 of these “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary counties” across the entire country.

“One of the problems currently is how people talk about this concept,” said Professor Slaughter, “many of the people who support sanctuary cities, with or without that name, are actually saying that immigration enforcement must be separate from law enforcement,.” said Stephany Slaughter, associate professor of Spanish.

Law enforcement officers often support the use of sanctuary cities for logical reasons, not political ones. “When law enforcement does the job of immigration enforcement, it undermines community safety,” said Slaughter. “Law enforcement depends on community buy-in,” she said.

Many police officers have shared this sentiment publicly. Shelly Knight of the Dallas Sheriff’s Office stated that a Texas bill that would potentially criminalize noncooperation with I.C.E. if passed was “causing trust in the community to deteriorate,” and that undocumented immigrants are “not wanting to talk to us, they’re not wanting to open the door out of fear that something’s going to happen to them.”

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley stated that “Every Police Chief that spends time working on immigration matters is one less officer investigating serious crime.”

In a Washington Post poll of a San Diego immigrant community, 64.2% of residents said that they were less likely to report a crime they witnessed to local police if the police were working with I.C.E., and 46% said they were less likely to report a crime they had been a victim of. It is hard to even justify a law enforcement focus on undocumented immigrant to begin with. According to a 2018 Cato Institute poll, undocumented immigrants commit 56% less crime than native-born Americans.

Michigan State Police do not arrest people based on immigration status, but are required by policy to inform I.C.E. when they come into contact with people of questionable immigration status.

At the time of publishing, the Whitmer administration has not responded to the Almanian’s request for information on whether or not the Governor supports a pledges of noncooperation with I.C.E. at a state level or if she would endorse pledges of non-cooperation of other local law enforcement and collegial institutions.

Michiganders must ask themselves, why are we disregarding the 4th amendment and the safety of our communities in order to appease a federal agency and administration whose tenure seems to be marked with unspeakable cruelty at every turn?

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