For Immediate Release
SEIU’s Medina: Reckless Behavior by ICE Officers Must Stop Immediately
Recent ICE Action in Detroit Another Sign of the Agency’s Inability to Follow Stated Policies
WASHINGTON - As the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) probes the reckless, warrantless stop and arrest of parents at a Detroit School last week, SEIU’s Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina issued the following statement. The statement urges the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to review and revise policy standards and priorities of all of its enforcement units including ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“The continued negligence and poor judgment used by law enforcement officers under DHS must quickly come to an end. In the space of a little more than one month, the agency erroneously separated a 4-year child from her parents, continued a misdirected I-9 audit campaign severely impacting families and businesses across the country and stormed a Detroit school, frightening hundreds of innocent and non-suspecting students and their parents.
“In the Detroit case, ICE concedes that errors were committed during the immigration enforcement action at the Hope of Detroit Academy. According to ICE policy, enforcement actions are never supposed to occur near schools unless there is an urgent, demanding need to do so.
“There is no justification for the police action at the Detroit school last week, which frightened young students and reportedly trapped parents inside the school building.
“In another instance, CBP showed a serious lapse in judgment and lack of concern for four-year-old Emily Ruiz, a U.S. citizen from New York, when agents wrongly sent her back to Guatemala with her grandfather who was traveling with her, after he was denied re-entry into the U.S.
“Emily, a citizen with a valid travel document, should not have come under the jurisdiction of CBP. And no parent should be separated from a child because of a CBO error in judgment and policy. Emily was reunited with her parents last week, but still unanswered is this basic question: What is DHS doing to ensure that what happened to Emily does not happen again?
“On a broader policy question, DHS has been remiss in its pledge to target egregious employers who routinely exploit undocumented workers for substandard pay and working conditions. Instead, in a swaggering display of immigration enforcement, ICE has been conducting audits of I-9 employment eligibility forms of responsible employers with no history of immigration violations or abuse that help sustain the economies of cities and states across the nation. This disruption to business operations, workers and their families must end immediately, especially as the economy struggles to recover.
“On this question, we ask again: Why is the Department of Homeland Security unable to consistently follow its own stated priorities and policies?
“Enough is enough. Whether the issue is about chasing suspected undocumented immigrants at a school, wrongly sending a young citizen child out of the country, and separating her from her parents, or misdirecting the I-9 enforcement process – DHS must end its reckless practices."
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With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.