As families across the United States bunker down to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is continuing business as usual with their enforcement operations, leaving immigrants, immigration judges, government officials, security guards, and the public at greater risk.
A coalition of immigrant rights organizations launched a petition that demands ICE halt all operations and let our people go. The full demands include:
-Suspend ALL immigration enforcement activities and operations and release detained people.
-Suspend and postpone or conduct ALL in-person check-ins via phone.
-Guarantee safe conditions and provide healthcare, testing and support to protect those in detention and prisons.
-Guarantee testing, treatment and services for ALL, regardless of immigration status.
“True homeland security right now requires an immediate and complete cessation to the indiscriminate immigration enforcement that is fueling greater fear during a global pandemic,” María Rodríguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Florida’s families are in fear not only of the virus, but of being brutally separated from their families during these vulnerable times. In the past few days, we have received calls about ICE at an airport Greyhound stop, two incidents in Gainesville where at least six workers were detained and transferred to a detention center and hundreds of people (without access to bathrooms outside to wash their hands) still being forced to check-in at the Miramar Check-in Center. Now more than ever, we must accept that our fates are intertwined, not just our labor but our bodies and the wellbeing of the globe.”
“When we arrived in Miramar this morning we saw a line of more than 70 people who had to check-in with ICE,” Maria Bilbao, Deportation Defense Organizer Organizer at United We Dream. “All were lined up one after the other, like they were animals being herded. I confronted DHS officials there and it quickly became apparent how little they cared about the health of our people and about following the safety protocols during the COVID-19 global health crisis. Right now, our people are more afraid of ICE than they are of getting this dangerous virus. Our people should be social distancing right now and avoiding community spreading. It is immoral and ICE and DHS must stop all immigration enforcement, including all check-ins, to ensure the safety of immigrants and that of everyone.”
Watch a video of today’s check-ins at Miramar, produced by Miramar Circle of Protection and United We Dream.
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