The Greenburgh Human Rights Advisory Committee condemns the activities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in the Hudson Valley and the rest of New York State ending on April 14, 2018, in the strongest possible terms.
As part of “Operation Keep Safe,” ICE and ERO arrested 225 individuals. Many of our immigrant brothers and sisters were arrested for merely being present in the United States, seeking better lives for themselves and their families.
ICE and ERO are targeting immigrant communities and abducting people not to solve legitimate security concerns, but rather to satisfy a purely political agenda. Above all else, these government agencies seek to instill terror, chaos, and hopelessness among some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Having seen these heartless and cruel tactics, we must question whether we want our own government to use tactics that would’ve been very recognizable in the Nazi arrests of the Jewish people. This is what we see today in ICE’s government-sponsored attack on our immigrant population, which has led some, including Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke earlier this year, to refer to the agency as, “America’s Gestapo.” ICE has long been a cruel instrument and their funding must be called into question.
As a consequence, families are being shattered. Hard working people are being ripped from their homes and places of work, leaving spouses without breadwinners and children without parents. This is being done at the behest of the political party that loves to claim it is the defender of “family values.” Clearly, the actions by ICE and ERO show that the only families that matter to them are white families.
With instructions from the Trump administration, ICE and ERO have abandoned their practice of prioritizing who they arrest based on whether and what type of crime(s) an individual committed. They are now operating with few, if any, restraints. Where once it targeted “felons, not families,” that is no longer the case.
We applaud the statement and actions of Governor Cuomo, who wrote ICE a Cease and Desist letter and threatened a lawsuit, saying the warrantless operations were “reckless” and “unconstitutional,” aimed at “unnecessarily stoking terror among law-abiding residents under the guise of promoting homeland security and public safety.”
We also applaud Senator Gillibrand for writing to the Acting Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, expressing concern about “reports in the media and by constituents of incidents involving CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and ICE agents (that) describe questionable enforcement protocols that detail disturbing patterns of unconstitutional and morally reprehensible behavior by the Department of Homeland Security.”
And we thank our Town Supervisor Paul Feiner for joining us in condemning ICE and striving to make Greenburgh a welcoming place for the immigrant community (Mr. Feiner’s full statement is below).
We call on our other elected county, state and federal representatives to similarly speak out against these attacks. We ask them to redouble their efforts to protect our neighbors by using their influence to address the activities of ICE and ERO that are destroying families by targeting people who have committed no crime, taking them to detention facilities, and working to have them deported. The President told the nation he was taking steps to remove immigrants from the US because they were “gang members” and “bad hombres.” However, during the first three months of ICE’s 2018 fiscal year, the agency deported 56,710 people, 46 percent of whom had never been convicted of a crime. What good is served by forcibly removing law-abiding residents from their communities and fast-tracking them for deportation, moving them from facility to facility, further traumatizing their loved ones?
Additionally, we ask the local media, who have been content to simply reprint ICE press releases when reporting news of their raids and abductions, to balance their coverage by seeking out the families of those who have been taken away and examine the human toll that is the result of these abusive anti-immigrant practices.
Finally, we urge other progressive organizations to issue statements of support for Westchester’s immigrant community and condemn ICE for their attacks on our neighbors and our democracy.
–The Greenburgh Human Rights Advisory Committee (https://www.facebook.com/GreenburghHumanRights/)
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner’s full statement: “I am pleased to join the Greenburgh Human Rights Advisory committee in condemning the activities of ICE and ERO. Over the years I have interacted with many immigrants. They are caring, decent, honest people who help strengthen our community. Our federal government is cruel, mean and determined to destroy lives. Our immigrant families have the same goals we all have – to improve their living conditions. I want to work with the Human Rights Committee in pressing our federal officials to welcome our immigrant families. My office is open to any immigrant who needs help with any government-related problem.”