Immigrant Families Hold Vigil After Being Spurned by ICE Director

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessThe Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and allies held a vigil outside the Chicago regional office of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to protest its exclusion of immigrant families from a meeting with ICE Director John Morton and other ICE officials. The vigil, which took place Tuesday, June 28, came a week after ICE’s June 17 announcement purporting to address issues with its flawed “Secure Communities” enforcement program.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessImmigrant advocates have decried the record numbers of deportations under the Obama Administration—nearly 400,000 per year, or 1,100 per day—and the impact of “Secure Communities” and other programs on immigrant families and communities. Although “Secure Communities” is advertised as targeting immigrants with serious criminal convictions, ICE’s numbers show that nearly half of all individuals arrested under the program in Illinois have never been convicted of any crime.

Illinois withdrew from “Secure Communities” on May 4 after legislators, sheriffs, and community leaders in Illinois blasted the program and backed the “Smart Enforcement Act” to limit its reach. New York and Massachusetts have stated their intentions not to participate in the program. ICE has so far said it will not honor any of these state announcements.

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