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ICE Raid in Coopersville is tearing apart immigrant families

November 20, 2017

Nearly 2 weeks ago, ICE agents showed up at Demeester Wood Products in Coopersville, Michigan and ended up arresting 18 people on immigration violations.

Of those arrested, 13 were Guatemalan and 5 were Mexican. This is one of the first workplace raids that have taken place in West Michigan in sometime, even though the Trump administration has made it clear that they intend to conduct workplace raids to enforcement immigration policy.

Most local news agencies reported on ICE arrests and several of those same news agencies (Fox 17, Holland Sentinel and Grand Haven Tribune) used the term “illegal” when referring to the immigrants arrested. Since at least 2013, the Associated Press has stated that using the term “illegal” when referring to immigrants is “no longer a sanctioned term.”

Who the ICE raids impact

Yesterday, while participating in a fundraising event for the Grand Rapids Rapid Response to ICE project, we heard directly from a woman who’s husband was one of the 18 arrested in the Coopersville ICE raid.

The woman from Guatemala, spoke through a translator, about how difficult it has been for her family, and especially her children, to deal with the fact that her husband was arrested by ICE agents. The mother, holding back tears, said that her children cry all the time, wondering where their father is and when they will get to see him again.

Unlike, most immigrants that are arrested by ICE agents, this woman from Guatemala said that her husband was being held in a detention facility in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. This ICE facility has been operational since 2011 and serves the growing list of ICE activities.

Some of the people arrested by ICE at the Coopersville raid are in detention in Battle Creek, but most of the 18 arrested are in Sault Ste Marie. The Guatemalan woman said that this makes it difficult to visit her husband, because of the distance they have to travel, but that there are visitation opportunities every Sunday. She also said that her husband has a court date set for December 6 and will not know til then whether or not her husband is slated to de deported.

The GR Rapid Response to ICE project is working to respond to the needs of this family. They invite people to make donations to support the family, which include daily needs, transportation to visit the father and an effort to raise bond money so he can spend more time with his family before his court date.

People can donate online at this link paypal.me/arcarpenter or message the GR Rapid Response to ICE project on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/RapidResponseGR/.

The grassroots effort will be hosting another monthly training for those wanting to be directly involved in the immigrant solidarity work. Go to this link for details https://www.facebook.com/events/138147496949683/?active_tab=about.

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