Shift in ICE policy

Leaked ICE memo directs agents to take action with any undocumented immigrant encountered

Immigrants and advocates have long known that there has been a shift in deportation policy, but journalist Marcelo Rochabrun in Propulica recently shared a leaked Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo which confirms suspicions that ICE is targeting all undocumented immigrants indiscriminately now. This memo dates back to February of this year, and was written by a head official in Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) stating “effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties.”

Past ICE protocol, and Present

Previously, undocumented immigrants with a criminal history were priority for ICE,  but now ICE agents are encouraged to take action against anyone they meet while one duty, regardless of criminal history. Essentially, the Trump administration has extended the meaning of “criminal” in the US, applying it to all people who are in the US without documentation.

On May 24th 2017, ICE officials entered an Ann Arbor restaurant with a warrant for a man but arrested 3-5 other people, including a legal permanent resident.  This is only one instance backing up the leaked ICE memo’s directive.

A veteran ICE agent recently spoke out to a reporter for The New Yorker, stating “We’re going to get sued… You have guys who are doing whatever they want in the field, going after whoever they want.”

Where are we headed? 

Mass deportations were taking place under the Obama administration, but they were largely ignored by mainstream society. Now that the Trump administration is being blatant about their intentions, there is greater understanding and concern about what is happening to immigrant communities. This is a scary time for many, it is also an excellent time to advocate for and create the strong and welcoming community for immigrants in America.

Volunteer for immigrant rights groups such as CIVIC through its detention center hotline, writing for its blog or writing/visiting immigrants at a local detention center. Cities are declaring themselves “sanctuary cities,” in that they are they are refusing to comply with ICE officials, and places of worship are opening their doors to families fighting against deportation. The bad news is out there, but there is change in the air, and there are more people with love in their hearts than not. Let’s prove it.

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