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ICE continues to terrorize the immigrant community in West Michigan

May 11, 2018

Editor’s note: For sake of transparency, I am part of the GR Rapid Response to ICE project and some of the information included here is based on my own experience of being involved in that work.

Yesterday, another immigrant family was terrorized by members of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), in the southeast side of Grand Rapids.

The Spanish language news service, El Informador, reported on the ICE arrests yesterday morning, which included pictures and a video interview.

It was estimated that 9 ICE officers broke in the door of (pictured here) an immigrant family and then pointed their guns at everyone inside, including the children. A member of Child Protective Services had accompanied the ICE officers, with the intent of taking the children as well, but this didn’t happen.

However, ICE officers did take the father, arresting him right in front of his wife and children. Based on a report from an immigration lawyer, the father is now in detention in Battle Creek, at the Calhoun County Jail, which ICE is using for arrests made in West Michigan.

This kind of repression from ICE is taking place on a weekly basis in West Michigan. The GR Rapid Response to ICE group is receiving calls about ICE arrests or ICE intimidation on a regular basis. What is happening is nothing short of terrorism. Immigrant families are the targets of state terrorism, which traumatizes families, separates families and creates a climate of fear throughout the immigrant community.

So, how can those of us who have racial and class privilege be in solidarity with immigrants who are experiencing this kind of terror? There are several ways people can practice solidarity with immigrants.

  • Like the Facebook page for GR Rapid Response to ICE. This will help keep people in the loop about the work of the group, along with regular updates about families who have been impacted by ICE arrests.
  • You can attend the next GR Rapid Response to ICE training, which are being offered monthly. This is for people who want to take a more active role in trying to prevent ICE arrests and to offer concrete forms of support to families impacted by ICE.
  • Attend one of the fundraising events that the GR Rapid Response to ICE is hosting, so we can all contribute to the financial support that families impacted by ICE need. The next event is May 17, with details at this link.
  • You can share this card, which provides information for immigrants on what to do if ICE shows up. Calling 211 can get you connected to the GR Rapid Response to ICE group, which can mobilize people to take action.

  • Donate when you can and ask your friends to do the same. Check the GR Rapid Response to ICE page for ways to donate.
  • There is a new Community Bond Fund that has been established, which will be used for immigrants who can be bonded out from detention to be with their families. More information on this effort will be coming soon on the GR Rapid Response to ICE page.
  • Have a conversation at your church, synagogue, mosque or temple about offering sanctuary for those being targeted by ICE repression. Two months ago, IUC Ministerios Ríos de Agua Viva / Joy Like a River UCC, declared themselves a sanctuary. We need many more religious institutions to do the same. Contact Reverend Justo González, II at 716-989-9207, cell or jgonzo2@michucc.org, for those wanting to become a sanctuary.

  • We all need to educate ourselves on US immigration policy, both historically and in the present. We need to be informed about what the US government has done and is doing when it comes to immigration.
  • Lastly, for those of us who want to support the powerful immigrant-led movement, known as Movimiento Cosecha GR, contact them to get involved in their efforts to win respect, dignity and permanent protection for all immigrants. For there to be immigrant justice, the movement must be led by immigrants. Allies should always work to center the voices and lived experience of the immigrant community.

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