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ICE Raids and the Targeting of the Immigrant Community in West Michigan

February 13, 2017

Reports are now coming in about new ICE raids taking place in some parts of the US. The Trump administration’s Executive Order around immigration, the border and deportation will likely come to many communities, like West Michigan. screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-4-11-28-am

So what will we do in response? What do we need to do to be prepared? Plans in are in the works right now, but one thing we can all do is learn from what other communities have been doing, looking at best practices, strategies and tactics that we can use to mobilize people quickly to prevent harm being done to immigrant community, particularly those that are undocumented.

There are several useful toolkits being used across the country. One Rapid Response toolkit being used in New York City provides lots of great resources and uses popular media and graphics to communicate what people can do, what your rights are and how to mobilize people when needed, in both English and Spanish. 

Then there are these great documents that help people understand the deportation process and who is at risk of such repression from the government. Deportation 101: A Community Resource on Anti-Deportation Education and Organizing provides solid resources, ideas and action plans, that again are both in English and Spanish.screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-4-14-42-am

The Immigrant Defense Project provides great ideas on what we can be working on at the local level, while we fight the federal policy. Here are a list of suggestions, resources and places that are already do good work in defense of immigrants:

Fight for local policies to protect immigrants from deportation, including limiting ICE collaboration with law enforcement. See Local Options for Protecting Immigrants: A Collection of City & County Policies to Protect Immigrants from Discrimination and Deportation, a resource from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. For detailed examples from NYC, see also NYC detainer & probation policy.

• Advocate for state or local funding to ensure public defenders are able to provide proper immigration advice so that immigrant clients do not suffer the harsh consequences that can stem from a criminal case, such as New York’s Regional Immigration Assistance Centers.

• Advocate for state or local funding to ensure representation in immigration court, such as the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project. See also Blazing a Trail: The Right to Counsel in Detention and Beyond, a resource from the National Immigration Law Center.

• Support campaigns against discriminatory surveillance, special registration, and data sharing. See Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) and  Stop LAPD Spying.  

• Stand with calls for  police departments to refrain from handing over  immigrants with administrative warrants to ICE, such as in the initiative as part of the campaign for the IDNYC, New York’s municipal ID.

• Fight for policies to prevent ICE arrests in courthouses, such as in Kings County, Washington and Santa Clara, California.

• Stand up for policies welcoming refugees locally and nationally. See Refugee Council USA’s Post-Election Toolkit.

• Engage in efforts to establish “safe school zones”. See the National Education Association’s resources.screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-4-32-37-am

There is also this four page document that lays out an excellent plan for how to mobilize people quickly when an ICE raid happens or when people are questioned, detained or arrested. Again, a coalition of folks are working on something like this right now in Grand Rapids.

There is another useful toolkit prepared by the Immigrant Defense Project, called Defend Against ICE Raids and Community Arrests

Lastly, a simple handout is being developed with a hotline for people who come in contact with ICE. What you see below is a sample of what this handout will look like, although we will have a local number for people to contact. Once people call the hotline, we will be able to mobilize the community quickly in order to resist the violence being done to individuals and families within the immigrant community. Stay tuned, as plans will be rolled out soon.

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