The Miramar City Commission has unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Commissioner Yvette Colbourne denouncing Immigration and Customs Enforcement Services’ inhuman treatment of immigrants at a local ICE check-in office. Immigrants at the ICE office in Miramar are being forced to wait for many hours every week without adequate restroom facilities, access to water, shelter from the elements, seating arrangements or parking facilities. Earlier this month, activists shared video of immigrants having their cars targeted by tow trucks while they spent hours waiting in line for mandatory check-ins. Immigrants across the country have been facing increasing deportation threats, with thousands being arrested in “silent raids” when they appear for routine appointments with ICE officers. Florida is the epicenter of deportation threats for immigrants, as it had the highest increase in ICE arrests in 2017.
“In Miramar, immigrants are being forced to stand outside for hours, sometimes all day in the sun or rain without any shelter. These are horrific conditions, leaving people without any access to restrooms or water and with no place to sit down,” stated Maria Asuncion-Bilbao, an organizer with United We Dream. “Immigrants have been hospitalized because of this, taken away in ambulances after getting heatstroke because of ICE’s dehumanizing treatment during their mandatory check-ins. They used to have to come to these appointments once a year, but now the people we talk to are having to come in every couple months, repeatedly subjected to these terrible conditions and facing the looming threat of deportation at any time. We can’t let this continue.”
Yaquelin Lopez, undocumented mother and community leader in the Circle of Protection, explained that “the Miramar Facility has become a local model for violations of human rights and dignity of immigrants. This resolution is just one step of many to come that will demonstrate that no ICE Facility is above the law and that they must provide basic, decent services to people. Miramar has always been a city that respects immigrants regardless of their immigration status because we work and are part of the cultural and economic development of the city. We will continue to organize because this is our home and we are here to stay.”
“Miramar has always been a city that respects immigrants regardless of their immigration status because we work and are part of the cultural and economic development of the city.”
Testimonies at the Miramar City Council meeting were given by community leaders from United We Dream, Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Friends of Miami Dade Detainees, and Women Working Together, among others.
“After months and months of driving 70 miles each way to bear witness and to support the lines of human beings caught in the Trump deportation machine, I am truly gratified to see the City of Miramar step up and say NO, what ICE is doing in our city is wrong,” stated Bud Conlin, a community leader in the Circle of Protection. “It is my hope that this is just one small step of many as we seek justice for our neighbors.”
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