Activists for immigrant rights in Illinois are not happy with a planned citizens academy by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The Chicago Citizens Enforcement and Removal Operations Academy is a six-week program that bears resemblance to previous programs from other law enforcement agencies.
ICE will select 10 to 12 residents of the Chicago area to participate in the training once the program begins in September. A field director for ICE says that he is surprised at some of the push back the agency is receiving from members of the community. These community members are concerned with the impact that the training will have on immigration law enforcement in their city.
The field director says he hopes the community will come to understand that the agency is an ally and intends to protect the safety of citizens. He points out that recently the agency arrested a Lebanese citizen in Chicago who was suspected of terrorist activities. The FBI arrested the man after an explosive device was placed near a garbage can in a highly populated area of the city. The field director also tells the story of a 40-year-old man from El Salvador deported as a result of sex crimes. The field director says the stories are important to tell because ICE rarely speaks to the community about the work done by the agency.
Still, activists contend the proposed training is dangerous and has no place in Chicago. The alderman for Chicago’s 33rd Ward says that many people took part in the fight that has made Chicago a sanctuary city. The alderman also says the plans announced by ICE are “outrageous.”
Individuals facing immigration matters have a lot riding on the outcome. Many times, these issues involve complex processes and legal jargon that can become difficult to navigate alone. Individuals with questions about their immigration status or those who need help with steps in the immigration process may find the answers they need by consulting with an experienced immigration attorney.