Local leaders: Our police force is not a tool to be militarized by federal government. Cleveland will not become breeding ground for hatred and fear
In an interview with WKYC, Mayor Frank Jackson declared that the City of Cleveland will not help the President-elect carry out his pledge of mass deportation. Jackson said: “We are not an arm of the immigration authorities. We don’t detain someone because they are an immigrant, neither do we question them because of their immigration status.”
Councilman Zack Reed echoed these statements, stating: “We should not be like the Nazi force, we should not be like the Gestapo, we should not be going knocking on people’s doors.”
Said Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice, “Mayor Jackson and Councilman Zack Reed have joined scores of other mayors and police chiefs in at least thirty states, declaring that our local police should focus on public safety, not facilitating Donald Trump’s political agenda. This is the right decision for Cleveland and other cities should follow their lead.
“The role for local police is to protect the public from violent criminals, not hardworking moms and dads whose children are American citizens. Right now, Ohio immigrants and their families are literally terrified about the future. They don’t know if or when Trump’s deportation force is going to come knocking on their door. It’s important that local communities do everything in our power to prevent the massive roundup and separation of these American families.”
Said David Leopold, Cleveland Immigration Lawyer and Past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association: “I applaud Mayor Jackson and Councilman Zack Reed for standing up to President-elect Trump’s call for mass deportation. Cleveland is a unique city which has a deep and rich immigrant history. Mayor Jackson understands that Clevelanders are safer when our local police are able to focus on what they do best, protect the citizens they serve. Charging our local law enforcement with federal immigration duties would threaten community trust and compromise our safety because noncitizens might think twice before reporting a crime to local police. Mayor Jackson wisely recognizes that immigration enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government, not the City of Cleveland.”
Justine Bernacet, Case Western Reserve University student and Cleveland community activist, said: “The dynamic of power in this country has shifted enormously recently, and not just with the presidency. Individuals of the nationalist and ‘alt-right’ movements have gained considerably more political and social capital. In the face of such hatred and animosity, we as a nation must have the courage to speak truth to power. We must stand by our values and recognize that this issue of corralling immigrants and refugees isn’t a partisan one–it is a human one. Major Jackson and Councilman Reed have demonstrated Cleveland’s commitment to protecting and defending all families and their children. Our police force is not a tool to be militarized by the federal government. Cleveland will not become a breeding ground for hatred and fear. We will and must always be an example of unity and hope during our country’s most trying times.”
For more on this issue, read “Debunking the Myth of ‘Sanctuary Cities’: Community Policing Policies Protect American Communities” by Lynn Tramonte, published by the Immigration Policy Center, April 2011.