National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

DECEMBER 19, 2005
2:24 PM

CONTACT: National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Angie Junck, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, (415) 255-9499 ext. 586

Groups Speak Out against ICE Initiative Operation, Community Shield and Similar Programs

OAKLAND - December 19 - On December 20, 2005, in honor of International Migrants Day, several immigrant community organizations and legal service organizations across the country will speak out against a series of law enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that target alleged gang members.

Despite the drastic drop in crime related to gang violence, the gang problem has been portrayed as a national crisis. No one disputes the need to respond to violent crime. However, overbroad dragnet enforcement policies that do not respect the interests of communities, families, and refugees are ineffective, unjust, and violate human rights.

Operation Community Shield, a joint venture between local and state police and ICE, has resulted in the apprehension and deportation of 1,600 alleged gang members. These numbers don’t include local ICE dragnet actions, like Operation Mission Possible, a joint action by ICE and the San Francisco Police Department. Many of these individuals were deported within days of their arrest, foreclosing any meaningful assessment as to their eligibility for relief from deportation. We have examples of individuals being targeted who do not fit the profile of a “violent gang member.” Some have been rehabilitated and engage in gang rehabilitation work, others are lawful permanent residents with extensive ties to family in the U.S., and others are fleeing violence in their home countries. Gang violence is a community problem. Making deportation and detention leading strategies to combat gang violence will not end it.

Speakers from legal and community organizations will speak about the impact of these policies on our clients, our youth, and their families. Growing collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE has a detrimental effect on community policing and public safety. We demand information from our local police about their involvement in Operation Community Shield and similar programs.

A press kit with stories of individuals affected by these dragnet policies will be provided. See below for more information on the actions taking place in Washington, D.C. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Florence, Arizona.

San Francisco -
Location: Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), 1663 Mission Street, Suite 602, San Francisco, CA 94103

Time: 1:00 p.m. PST

Speakers: Angie Junck (ILRC); Wilbert Anibal Castillo, an asylum seeker affected by Community Shield; Karl Krooth, chair of National Lawyers Guild Bay Area Immigration Committee and immigration attorney representing Wilbert Anibal Castillo; Ilyce Shugall (Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale); Staff Member from CARECEN; Gabriel Morera, former District Safety Coordinator for the San Francisco Neighborhood Safety Partnership (invited); Lisa Frydman, Staff Attorney at Legal Services for Children (invited)

Sponsors: Immigrant Legal Resource Center, National Lawyers’ Guild Bay Area Chapter, Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, CARECEN SF, Legal Services for Children


Los Angeles –
Contact: Rocio Santa Cruz (213) 383-7484

Location: outside LAPD Headquarters, Parker Center, 150 N. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Time: 10:00 a.m. PST

Speakers: Rocio Santa Cruz, Silvia Beltran (Homies Unidos); Susan Cruz (Sin Fronteras), Alfonso Gonzalez (Raza Graduate Student Association); Institute for Policy Studies fellow; and two community members­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Washington, D.C. –
Contact: Paromita Shah (617) 227-9727 ext. 1

Location: Pigeon Park, Corner of 16th Street NW and Harvard Avenue, Washington, DC

Time: 10:00 a.m. EST

Speakers: Paromita Shah (National Immigration Project); Juan Pacheco (Barrios Unidos); Christina Wilkes (AYUDA, Inc.) and her client; Brittney Nystrom (CAIR Coalition); Valerie Burch (Pennsylvania Immigrant Resource Center) (invited); Andrea Black (Detention Watch Network)

Florence, Arizona –
Contact: Holly Cooper (520) 868-0191 ext.102

Location: Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, 300 S. Main Street, Florence, AZ 85232


Speakers: Holly Cooper and staff of the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project