Broad Coalition of Montana Faith, Immigrant Justice, and Civil Rights Groups Call on Secretary Mayorkas to End ICE Collaboration Programs

Affiliate: ACLU of Montana
April 26, 2021 2:45 pm

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MISSOULA, Mont. — Ten immigrant justice, human rights, and criminal justice groups based in Montana sent a letter today urging Department of Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to end Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) collaboration programs, including the 287(g) program, Secure Communities and ICE detainers.

Today’s announcement by grassroots organizations follows a letter from 125 law enforcement leaders from across the country urging Secretary Mayorkas to end partnership agreements with ICE.

“The abuses cited in this letter are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the real harm that ICE detainers and collaboration programs cause in our state,” said Sam Forstag, ACLU of Montana Legislative Program Manager. “These programs pose an imminent and continued threat to civil rights and public safety in our state. Governor Gianforte’s decision to mandate participation in these programs will mean even more profiling, harassment, and constitutional violations. Enough is enough. The time is now for Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden administration to get local police out of the immigration enforcement business once and for all.”

The letter was signed by the ACLU of Montana, Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Montana Human Rights Network, Montana Association of Christians, River Mountain Immigration, Montanans for Immigrant Justice, Montana Women Vote, International Rescue Committee, Treasure State Values, and Soft Landing Missoula.

Our organizations have seen the harmful impact of these ICE collaboration programs, where 287(g) agreements and ICE detainers have perpetuated systemic abuses while also weakening public safety by instilling such a level of fear in immigrants that they are afraid to interact with local police, fire departments or any government employee,” said Randall Caudle of River Mountain Immigration. If the federal government ended these harmful programs, it would signal to our communities that Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden/Harris administration are ready to break from the previous administration’s xenophobic, anti-immigrant legacy.”

The national ACLU has also asked the Biden administration to end these programs.

“More and more Americans from across the political spectrum are urging the Biden administration to end ICE collaboration programs for a simple and important reason: these programs make everyone less safe,” said Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU. “The time is now for the Biden administration to end these harmful entanglements once and for all.”

During his presidential campaign, President Biden pledged to “[e]nd the Trump administration’s historic use of 287(g) agreements” because they “undermine trust and cooperation between local law enforcement and the communities they are charged to protect.”

A copy of the letter is online here:

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