WASHINGTON — In every single field office in the country, Mijente, Detention Watch Network, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and close to fifty organizations representing immigrant communities are filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests today, demanding details regarding the planning and execution of enforcement activities, especially the rumored nationwide sweep dubbed Operation Mega, as well as the procedures for targeting and capturing individuals agents encounter.
Since the election and under the direction of Tom Homan at Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Trump’s deportation force has become unchained and been acting with impunity.
Under Trump, ICE has reported a 150 percent increase in the use of force. It has rescinded any guidance on prosecutorial discretion making every single undocumented person a target for removal. And even before the promised 15,000 additional agents, ICE’s arrest rate rose 40 percent in the first hundred days of Trump’s administration alone, frequently in conjunction with new prosecutions by Sessions’ DOJ.
With rumors circulating of massive raids planned by the agency, advocates plan to monitor the agency’s activity and force its corruption into public view.
“Under Trump and Homan, ICE has been acting with impunity,” said Legal and Policy Director for Mijente Tania Unzueta. “As they prepare to raid our communities, we’re preparing to force its corruption into public view and to protect and defend our loved ones.”
“ICE is an agency that regularly lies and actively hides information from public view,” said Danny Cendejas, organizing director of Detention Watch Network. “We will fight ICE’s abusive practices at every level, from preparing local immigrant communities to demanding the release of information on their enforcement activities in an effort to end the relentless attacks on our communities.”
“Our community no longer trusts ICE. That is why today we are asking them to give us in writing what they are really planning,” said Anibal Fuentes, a member of Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) as he helped deliver the FOIA to the Chicago ICE office. “We want to show them that we are going to continue organizing and fighting so that they cannot separate our families,” he concluded.
“It seems that Operation Mega was deliberately planned right before the end of the fiscal year so that ICE could manufacture higher numbers of people in immigrant detention, and then use those deliberately inflated numbers as justification for increased funding from Congress” said Mary Small, policy director at Detention Watch Network. “We’ve seen this time and time again–the machinery of ICE trying to turn immigrants from human beings with families and communities into bureaucratic numbers with dollar signs attached.”
A list of the ICE regional field offices where FOIAs are requested can be found here: www.ice.gov/contact/ero
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