Attorneys from the ACLU of Michigan and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) will present our letter to the Kent County Commission on Thursday morning November 8, signed by key community stakeholders including Justice for Our Neighbors, the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, the Micah Center, Treetops Collective, Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice, Joy Like a River United Church of Christ, Grand Rapids Rapid Response, and the West Michigan Coalition for Immigration Reform.
Local businesses, faith leaders and hundreds of individuals are also signatories to the letter. It calls on county legislators to proclaim Kent County a county that welcomes immigrants and to prohibit county funds from being used for federal immigration enforcement, including detaining immigrants in the Kent County jail.
U.S. Immigration and Custom and Enforcement (ICE), the letter says, has targeted members of the Kent County community “with extreme and cruel enforcement measures,” tearing apart families and children. “There is no legal reason why the [Kent County] Sheriff must continue to detain our community members for ICE,” says the letter. “This practice is completely voluntary and can be stopped at any time.”
The ACLU/MIRC letter also calls on commissioners to pass a resolution requesting the Kent County Sheriff’s Department to end its contract with ICE. The contract has been a flashpoint with the community. The ACLU and MIRC previously wrote to the Sheriff explaining that the contract is voluntary, but to date the Sheriff’s Department has taken no action to end the contract.
Hillary Scholten, attorney, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center
Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney, ACLU of Michigan
Elvira Hernandez, paralegal, ACLU of Michigan
Thursday, November 8, 8:30 a.m.
Kent County Commission
300 Monroe Ave, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Read our letter with MIRC to the Kent County Sheriff, Sept. 27, 2018, Re: Ending Immigration Detainers and the ICE Contract in Kent County.