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End the Contract with ICE campaign visits Commissioner Saalfeld’s house

July 26, 2018

Last night, roughly 40 people showed up at Kent County Commissioner Jim Saalfeld’s house to pressure him to end the County’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Organized by Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE, this action was in part a response to Commissioner Saalfeld’s decision to limit public comment at the June 28th Commission meeting, his claim that someone pushed another speaker (which was completely false) and because he decided to end the meeting by walking out and cutting the microphone during the June 28th meeting of the County Commissioners.

People marched about 2 blocks to Saalfeld’s house and then one of the organizers read some oversized documents that were being presented to the Chairman of the Kent County Commission.

The first document that was read out loud, was a statement of intent that the group was wanting Saalfeld to sign. That statement read as follows:

I,  James Saalfeld, do hereby declare that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is no longer welcome in Kent County, and that the Kent County Sheriff’s Department is no longer authorized to work with ICE or to remain in contractual agreements with ICE.

Be it declared that:
ICE is separating families in Kent County which causes all manner of poor outcomes such as increased poverty, exploitation, and trauma for our parents and children.  As a Kent County Commissioner I cannot stand by while this happens in our county.
The Kent County Correctional Facility is paid by ICE to hold immigrants who have been brought in on non-immigration-related offenses.  It is morally wrong for our county to accept any money for our role in kidnapping members of our own community. 
I have listened to the public comment regarding this issue as well as the actions of other local governments and businesses across the nation and it is clear that our voters want the Commission to show leadership and end this contract.  I am willing to step forward and be that leader.
Therefore I, James Saalfeld, Chair of the Kent County Commission:
  • will immediately release a statement denouncing ICE and declaring my intent to end the contract.
  • will submit a motion to end the contract to the next Commission Meeting Agenda and to all agendas following that until the motion passes.
  • will do everything in my power, including withholding county monies for the Kent County Sheriff’s budget and refusing approval of future budgets, to end this contract.

Commissioner Saalfeld was either not at home or refused to come to the door to talk with people about the ICE contract. The document was then duct taped to his front door, as you can see in the photo above.

In addition, people brought an oversized check to the protest, a check which shows how much money Kent County made in 2017 for trafficking immigrants that had a hold put on them by ICE.

In addition to the document and the oversized check, people brought signs, some of which were like yards sign that were added to the front lawn of Commissioner Saalfeld’s home. These signs reflected the reality of what Commissioner Saalfeld and his fellow commissioners are unwilling to do, which is to end the county’s contract with ICE.

Those who organized the action also had flyers that were distributed in the neighborhood. These flyers provided basic information about the county’s contract with ICE and why it was important that the contract be ended. Several neighbors did step out of their homes to see what was happening and one neighbor came over to complain that the noise those protesting were making had interrupted his pool party.

Eventually the Kent County Sheriff’s Department showed up, but they didn’t really do anything to stop the action. There were 5 Sheriff’s Department cruisers there at one point, but despite their presence, they did nothing to stop people from standing in front of Saalfeld’s house or dancing to music that was amplified during the protest.


The protest outside of Commissioner Saalfeld’s home lasted about 1 hour, but those who participated were reminded that the next morning people were going to the July 26th Kent County Commission meeting to once again address to commissioners and demand that they take action to end the county’s contract with ICE.

Lastly, people were invited to attend the next End the Contract meeting, which will be held on Monday, July 30th, with details at this link.

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