FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DETROIT – Today the Michigan Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (MCIRR), comprised of 73 immigrant justice and civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging the agency to end Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) collaboration programs, such as Secure Communities and ICE detainers, and to end entanglement between Border Patrol and local law enforcement that results in widespread racial profiling.
Today’s action by grassroots organizations follows both a letter sent by 125 law enforcement leaders urging Secretary Mayorkas to end partnership agreements with ICE, and the release of the ACLU of Michigan’s groundbreaking report in March, The Border’s Long Shadow: How Border Patrol Uses Racial Profiling and Local and State Police to Target and Instill Fear in Michigan’s Immigrant Communities.
This comprehensive report is the first-ever investigation into how Border Patrol wrongfully operates throughout the state of Michigan and racially profiles immigrant communities. Based on thousands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) documents spanning nine years, the report reveals how Border Patrol colludes with state and local police agencies to target, arrest, and deport immigrants, many of whom are longtime Michigan residents. Border Patrol has long claimed broad authority to operate far from the border and across the entire state of Michigan based on CBP’s expansive interpretation of its jurisdiction, which it defines as anywhere within 100 miles of an international waterway, often referred to as the “100-mile zone.”
Eva Alvarez, MCIRR secretary and Michigan Immigrant Rights Center public policy coordinator, issued the following statement:
“Our organizations have seen first-hand the harmful impact of these ICE and Border Patrol collaboration programs and practices, especially in communities of color, where ICE detainers have perpetuated systemic abuses while weakening public safety. Ending these programs would signal to our communities that Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden Administration are ready to break from the previous administration’s xenophobic legacy.
“More and more Americans from across the political spectrum are urging the Biden Administration to end these types of programs for a simple and important reason: they make everyone less safe. The abuses our communities have experienced are emblematic of the devastating toll these programs have taken on communities nationwide. The time is now for the Biden Administration to end these harmful entanglements once and for all.”
Monica Andrade, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney, released the following statement:
“The abuses cited in today’s letter are the tip of the iceberg, showing the harms we’ve documented as a result of local law enforcement’s entanglement in federal immigration enforcement.
“No one should have to live in fear of being targeted by law enforcement agencies because of the color of their skin or the language they speak. Our investigative report into Border Patrol’s collusion with police throughout the state of Michigan reveals how immigrant communities and people of color are targeted and terrorized daily. The same agency accused of horrible abuses, cruelty, and discrimination at the Southern border is running nearly unchecked in our communities with the help of our local police. It is time for our congressional, state, and local leaders to get serious about ending the entanglement between Border Patrol and local police to stop racial profiling for good.
“Every day that these programs and abusive practices continue is another day that communities of color are subjected to racial profiling and harassment, while public safety is compromised. Enough is enough. The time is now for Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden Administration to get local police out of the immigration enforcement business once and for all.”
Read the full ACLU report on Border Patrol, including dash-cam video and corresponding documents, here: https://www.aclumich.org/en/publications/borders-long-shadow