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Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE make demands at the City Commission meeting

February 13, 2019

Last night, members of Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE addressed the Grand Rapids City Commission meeting about the GRPD’s involvement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

A few weeks ago, the ACLU and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) sent a letter to the Grand Rapids City Commission and the GRPD about the police department’s involvement in the arrest and detention of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez. Gomez, a former US Marine, was arrested by the GRPD, which then turned him over to ICE. This was the specific issue that immigrant justice activists addressed during the commission meeting.

There were seven people from Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE that addressed the commissioners during public comment. They addressed several issues related to the GRPD and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and made the following demands:

  • No cooperation between GRPD and ICE
  • No City resources should be used to support ICE violence against the immigrant community
  • The City Commission should endorse the Drivers License for All campaign being organized by Movimiento Cosecha
  • The GRPD should stop harassing and intimidating those involved in trying to prevent ICE violence against the immigrant community.

Some of those who spoke talked about the trauma that immigrants experience because of ICE arrests or being in detention, along with how children are impacted by witnessing the arrest of a parent. One social worker for GRPS also addressed the constant fear that the immigrant community lives in because of ICE harassment, intimidation and violence.

The Drivers License for All campaign was addressed in part because of the fact that based on a recent study, we know the GRPD engages in racial profiling and because immigrants who do not have a US drivers license often end up in ICE custody even if they were only originally charged with driving without a license.

Sergio Reyes with Movimiento Cosecha GR spoke specifically about a recent incident where he and his wife were pulled over by the GRPD for no clear reason. When the cops made him get out of the car they said he smelled like pot, even though Reyes was not smoking. In addition, the police questioned his wife separately who later told her husband that the police said, “if he is a citizen he has nothing to worry about.” This point underscored the issue of the GRPD asking the immigration status of people, even though it is not their job to enforce immigration policy.

Members of Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE addressed members of the Grand Rapids City Commission just weeks after they successfully got the Kent County Sheriff’s Department to end ICE holds because of their seven month campaign against the contract between the county and ICE.

 

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