No ICE Citizens’ Academy Two Sign-On Letters: one to legislators & another to the ICE Field Office Director

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No ICE Citizens’ Academy Two Sign-On Letters: one to legislators & another to the ICE Field Office Director

The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) & The St. Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) and Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) are circulating these organizational sign-on letters directed to local, state and federal authorities to put an immediate stop to the implementation of ICE’s ‘Citizens Academy’ set to start in Chicago on September 15, 2020.

Reach out at JCHernandez@crln.org if you have any questions.
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The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) and the St. Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) and Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) are circulating these organizational sign-on letters directed to local, state and federal authorities to put an immediate stop to the implementation of ICE’s ‘Citizens Academy’ set to start in Chicago on September 15, 2020.

Reach out at JCHernandez@crln.org if you have any questions.
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To:

As you know, at a time when the nation is being forced to grapple with systemic police violence, ICE has invited civilians in Chicago to engage “in scenario-based training and exercises conducted in a safe and positive environment, including, but not limited to defensive tactics, firearms familiarization, and targeted arrests.” These actions by ICE are making the current environment even more frightening for immigrants and have raised alarm with local organizations and advocates across the country who see these types of training as potentially encouraging vigilantes to profile and target people in their communities.

The Trump administration’s power relies on the campaign of terror waged against migrants at the border and increased ICE raids at homes, on the street, at courthouses, and in workplaces. The administration has used escalated ICE presence in cities with policies that limit police collaboration with ICE, such as Chicago and New York, to threaten and intimidate these Cities. Of additional concern to the organizations is that ICE ERO is planning to hold this initial Academy in Chicago and include “scenario-based training and exercises” on firearms familiarization when just three years ago ICE agents shot an individual in Chicago during a raid.

We do not need citizens who feel empowered to further intimidate the most vulnerable in our communities. Additionally, we see this plan as an attempt by ICE to blur the public perception of the agency in order to get sympathy and erase the ways the agency has played into categorizing immigrants as dangerous criminals and justifying violent responses. These academies are part of strategies used by law enforcement to normalize violence and spread propaganda under the guise of improving community relations. Law enforcement agencies like ICE can’t improve community relations when they are part of the problem.

We believe that all people have inherent dignity and are deserving of basic human rights, including the freedom to live free from fear. The planned Citizens’ Academy will contribute to hostility towards immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the Chicago area.

We applaud the actions of Congressional representatives who are trying to cut off funding for this program. In recent days, the House Committee on Appropriations, successfully included an amendment to prohibit funding for this program in the Fiscal Year 2021 Homeland Security funding bill. Although these are positive moves in the right direction, the ‘Citizens Academy’ is still set to launch in Chicago this September. If allowed to move forward, the program would dangerously increase fear and discrimination against immigrant communities and lead to increased violence and racial profiling.

We call on the federal, state and local authorities to:

Prevent this academy: Private citizens should not feel empowered to fill in for police, ICE, or other authorities.

We, the undersigned, ask that you respond to our demand.

Letter 2

Letter to Robert Guadian

To: Robert Guadian, Field Office Director
Chicago.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov

Immigration and Customs Enforcement
101 W. Ida B. Wells Drive, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60605

RE: Enforcement and Removal Operations Citizens Academy

Director Guadian:

We, the undersigned, write to you today to express our concerns and ask you to put an immediate stop to the implementation of the agency’s new Enforcement and Removal Operations Citizens Academy (ERO-ECA) in Chicago. As local and national organizations supporting immigrant communities across the region, we are deeply troubled at the agency’s plan to provide scenario-based training “including, but not limited to defensive tactics, firearms familiarization, and targeted arrests.” These actions by ICE are making the current environment even more frightening for immigrants, during a time when the nation is being forced to grapple with systemic police violence and racial injustice.

We are outraged by the prospect of ICE holding this training in Chicago and continue our commitment to protecting our undocumented neighbors. We denounce this plan to to recruit vigilantes in our communities. We do not need citizens who feel empowered to further intimidate undocumented people. Historically, Chicago ICE agents have used violence towards the people they target and use deceitful tactics to carry out raids in the area. The agency has also played into categorizing immigrants as dangerous criminals and justifying violent responses.

We believe that all people have inherent dignity and are deserving of basic human rights, including the freedom to live free from fear. The planned ‘ICE-ERO Academy’ will contribute to hostility towards immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. We call on you to stop the implementation of the ICE Enforcement Citizen Academy. Private citizens should not feel empowered to fill in for police, ICE, or other authorities. If allowed to move forward, the program would dangerously increase fear and discrimination against immigrant communities and lead to increased violence and racial profiling.

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Susana Prieto Terrazas, a labor rights lawyer, was arrested in earlier June with charges of inciting a riot, threats, and coercion. CRLN joined in on the action to demand the Mexican Consulate to press for her release. We delivered this message right outside of the Chicago Mexican Consulate. See the recaps below:

& On our Facebook! Click HERE

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CRLN recently recommended that you watch a NISGUA webinar titled “From the U.S. to Central America: Asylum, Deportations, and COVID-19,” featuring five panelists from Central America and the U.S. who are experts on migration and powerful movement leaders. The panelists spoke about the illegal and inhumane Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs), also known as safe third country agreements. They also discussed deportations during the pandemic, which have greatly impacted already under-resourced medical systems in the Global South.

The recording of the webinar, complete with English subtitles, is now available for viewing, if you were unable to see it when the webinar first aired.

Links: 

Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs)

deportations during the pandemic

recording

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CRLN is a member of the Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN). Karen Spring is HSN’s representative in Honduras and is an insightful analyst of what is going on in Honduras today. We encourage you to tune into her upcoming podcast series. The first 2 episodes aired yesterday on the 11th anniversary of the 2009 overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales. Read her statement and listen below!

Hi there!

Today is the 11th anniversary of the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras. Like so many, I continue to be inspired by the amazing resistance of Hondurans across the country.

Today, I LAUNCHED the Honduras Now podcast, to remember not just a day that sparked a crisis in Honduras but a day that brought together an amazing and tireless popular movement that despite all odds, continues today.

 

Listen to the first two episodes:

** Episode One: The 2009 coup d’état in Honduras – download HERE
** Episode Two: What the coup means 11 years later – download HERE

If you would prefer to read the episodes (or get the links to Honduran feminist artist Karla Lara’s beautiful music), I will post the show notes at: www.hondurasnow.org

Hasta pronto! Thanks for listening!

Karen Spring
Honduras-based Coordinator, Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN)
Honduras Now Podcast

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CRLN is proud to share this piece on Tackling the Root Causes of Immigration to the US from Honduras written by our own former Staff member, Maria I. Leon Gomez Sonet! Please find the very important, informative article below!

Opinion-–-Tackling-the-Root-Causes-of-Immigration-to-the-US-from-Honduras

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This liturgical guide was put together by Matthew Broeren who was an intern with us during the summer of 2019. Members of CRLN’s Immigrant Welcoming Congregations helped support the effort. The guide is meant to provide a structure for congregations of any faith who wish to hold a special service to call attention to immigrant justice issues. Please feel free to shape it to your group’s needs. Click on the link below

CRLN Devotional Worship Resources

 

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We hope that you will join the Asylum Working Group (AWG) and the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) for virtual advocacy days from Tuesday, July 14 – Thursday, July 16 to demand that Congress defund the administration’s harmful anti-asylum policies and restore asylum protections. To join CRLN in participating, please RSVP here by Wednesday, July 1st. Next, contact Claudia Lucero (clucero@crln.org) so that we know who from CRLN will participate.

 

AWG and IIC will schedule virtual legislative visits between 10am ET – 4pm ET on Tuesday, July 14, Wednesday, July 15, and Thursday, July 16th. If you’re unable to join virtual meetings anywhere in those time blocks, please ensure you note that in the RSVP form. You will be given tools to engage in digital advocacy even if you cannot participate in the virtual meetings.

 

We are prioritizing participants from these key states and districts based on their Members of Congress (note that there are two tabs at the top, one for target Representatives and one for target Senators).

 

Background

Asylum processes and asylum protections for people fleeing from violence and persecution are enshrined in international and U.S. law.  Over the past few years, however, our asylum system has been transformed into a complex network of overlapping policies that are, by design, aimed at eviscerating the U.S. asylum system. Today, in contravention to public health experts’ guidance, the administration is wrongfully pointing to COVID-19 to deny our moral and legal obligations to welcome and process asylum seekers.

 

The goal is to educate Members of Congress about the systematic destruction of asylum protections and the impact the administration’s anti-asylum policies have had on asylum seekers, immigrants, and unaccompanied children – for those on both sides of the southern U.S. border.

 

How to Participate

AWG and IIC will hold a virtual training on legislative meetings and schedule group virtual meetings with your Senators and/or Members of Congress as well as conduct digital advocacy. Participants will receive:

  • Training on Virtual Legislative Meetings — date to-be-confirmed (late June/early July)
  • Schedule of Meetings with Your Members of Congress — on July 14th, 15th, or 16th sometime between 10am and 4pm
  • Sample Talking Points and Asks for Your Meeting — You will receive resources to help guide your meetings, and we encourage you also to share your personal stories and experiences
  • AWG and IIC Staff Support — each meeting will include an accompanier to provide support
  • Advocacy and Social Media Toolkit — the toolkit will include a call-in action, sample social media posts and graphics, and additional advocacy resources that you can share

Policy Asks

  1. Defund unlawful anti-asylum policies (such as the asylum bans) and safeguard any USCIS appropriations.
  2. Restore asylum protections and end immigrant detentions and deportations.
  3. Cosponsor pro-asylum legislation, such as the Refugee Protection Act(2936 / H.R.5210) and Asylum Seeker Protection Act (H.R. 2662).

 

To join us, please fill out this formYour responses will help us with scheduling meetings with your Members of Congress during the virtual advocacy days. Feel free to share this invitation widely with your networks!

 

Please feel free to reach out to Aubrey Grant (grant.aubrey@gmail.com) with any questions.

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