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Community Leaders Stand Up Against Abusive ICE Practices in Michigan

by Matt Hildreth on 04/14/2011 at 3:53pm

Detroit Elementary School Playground

Last May, Michigan DREAMer Ivan Nikolov and his mother were detained in a Michigan detention facility, where Ivan was forced to watch while his crying mother was strip-searched.

Only a small, shoulder-length screen separated the two.  When Ivan’s mother expressed her objections to being strip-searched in front of her son, the officer responded, “You’re lucky we don’t just shoot you in the head.” 

This horrible story is just one of the many cases highlighted in a new memo from the Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform-Michigan showing the misconduct of ICE agents under the jurisdiction of the Detroit Field Office.

Other stories from the same jurisdiction tell of warrantless raids resulting in a man being pushed through a wall, a six-month pregnant woman being refused medical care, children being stalked by ICE agents at elementary schools, and even US Citizens being shackled when ICE agents refused to accept their identification.

Today, leaders from the labor, faith and legal communities in Michigan held a press conference to expose the latest incidents they have uncovered, and demand accountability and real corrective action from ICE leadership.

Ryan Bates, Director of the Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform-Michigan said:

We understand that ICE does have to enforce our immigration laws but they also have to uphold the laws of our country, including the 4th amendment and protections of the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans.

Ruben Torres, a U.S. citizen expressed his frustration and anger after being detained by ICE agents for over an hour by saying:

I’m a U.S. citizen; I shouldn’t have to carry my birth-certificate around because my last name is Torres… It was clear that they came after me because I am Latino. In my opinion this was racism through and through. Immigration shouldn’t be stopping people because of their race. That is not the America that I was raised in.

Reverend Jack Eggleston from the South East Michigan Evangelical Lutheran Church of America condemned the abuses:

[W]e demand that there be justice, we demand that these practices, these policies be changed, that the abuse be ended. We will not be silent, we cannot be silent and even more voices will be raised to speak out about these abuses.

Download the memo.

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