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ICE Agents in Detroit Stalk Local Elementary School in Search for Undocumented Immigrants

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Update: ICE released the following statement in response to calls that the agency investigates Detroit ICE’s rogue behavior in stalking parents at a local elementary school — 

ICE is concerned by reports about the manner in which this operation was conducted, and is conducting an internal review of the facts surrounding it.

While a preliminary analysis suggests that certain requirements were followed, elements of the operation appear to have been inconsistent with policy and our standards and priorities.

ICE officers are required to follow a policy that prohibits operations near schools unless approved by headquarters or otherwise based on exigent circumstances. It is not clear that this policy was appropriately followed in this matter.

In addition, one of the targets may not have been within the agency’s stated enforcement priorities.

If internal review results in a finding that procedures were violated, appropriate steps will be taken. ICE will work closely with the local community to address any concerns arising from this matter.

Detroit ICE agents are known as some of the most aggressive immigration agents in the country. They have engaged in abusive — and often illegal — enforcement tactics before. But last week the Michigan Field Office run by Rebecca Adducci reached a new low.

On Thursday of last week, her ICE agents targeted parents who were dropping off their children at an elementary school in southwest Detroit. Some parents were arrested on the street, and others were trapped inside with young children while immigration agents surrounded the school.

ICE’s own policies explicitly instruct agents against these tactics; Director Adducci must have literally missed the memo.

“ICE personnel should refrain from conducting enforcement actions or investigative activities at or near sensitive community locations such as schools, places of worship, and funerals or other religious ceremonies, except in limited circumstances as set forth within this memorandum. Such restraint strikes a balance between our law enforcement responsibilities and the public’s confidence in the way ICE executes its mission.”

One thing is for sure: the public no longer has any confidence in the way Rebecca Adducci administers ICE’s mission.

At a press conference today, community leaders gathered outside of Hope of Detroit Academy today to demand that Director Adducci hold her and her agents accountable.

In response to ICE’s actions, State Representative Rashida Tlaib said:

“It is absolutely unacceptable for immigration agents to target parents at a school, these are hard-working members of our community, who are raising families, paying taxes and rebuilding our neighborhoods house-by-house.  The federal government should focus their limited resources on actual criminals, not terrorizing the parents of 7 year-old children.”

Ryan Bates, director of the Alliance for Immigrants Rights & Reform – Michigan added:

“It’s clear that Detroit ICE is out of control. Their outrageous actions at Hope of Detroit Academy are part of a pattern of abusive and often illegal activity.  Mistreatment of pregnant women while in detention, searches and arrests without warrants, and targeting parents at a school demonstrate that ICE leadership does not care about the rule of law or simple human decency.”

You can show your support for those in Michigan by sending a message to Rebecca Adducci and demanding that she take the necessary corrective actions.