Thursday, January 25, 2007
Richmond Congregations and Community Groups Demand Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE: “Tell the Truth”
Community Groups are Outraged by Immigration Authorities Posing as Police and Destroying our Community by Separating Families, Fomenting Fear and Making it Harder to Combat Crime
Cristina H. Espinoza at 925-301-6198; firstname.lastname@example.org -- CCISCO
Mark Silverman at 415-255-9499 ext.627 (Office); email@example.com -- ILRC
What: PRESS CONFERENCE
When: FRIDAY, January 26, 2007 at 12:00 pm
Where: St. Mark's Church, 159 Harbour Way, Richmond, CA
Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, (CCISCO), a faith-based community organizing group based in Richmond and 12 cities in Contra Costa County, St. Mark’s Church, Marin Trujillo of the West Contra Costa Unified School District, Reverend Phil Lawson, Co-President of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) are holding a press conference to expose the deceitful tactics of immigration authorities (Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE) who are posing as police officers in their efforts to target undocumented immigrants in Richmond. A United States citizen who witnessed this conduct will be at the press conference.
In the past two weeks, ICE authorities have posed as police officers and going door-to-door in neighborhoods searching for people, or standing outside grocery stores and arresting residents who cannot provide documentation of legal residency. According to ICE out of 119 detainees in Contra Costa County, 94 were “encountered in the process”, meaning they had no deportation orders.
These practices make it much more difficult for Richmond police to combat crime because they put roadblocks in the way of immigrant communities cooperating with the police.
“ICE’s fishing expedition in which agents misrepresent themselves as “police” is creating an atmosphere of fear and mistrust in the community that is damaging the efforts of the police and the community to combat crime. That is why there is opposition nationwide among state and local police to their enforcing civil violations of immigration law. Because of ICE’s misguided actions, immigrants will be afraid to open their doors or talk with persons who represent themselves as police, thereby defeating decades of work in community policing,” stated Mark Silverman, Director of Immigration Policy at the ILRC.
Community leaders are demanding an immediate halt to these door-to-door raids and calling for a full investigation of the actions of ICE officers. Community leaders are also calling for city officials and public agencies to put pressure on ICE to halt these raids, follow guidelines and stop misrepresenting themselves. Community leaders want to declare Richmond a place of refuge, as is the case in other cities of the Bay Area.
Residents will be available for individual interviews before the press conference for those with earlier deadlines.