Friday December 6, 2013
Portland Undocumented Families Demand that Sheriff Staton Stop Enforcing ICE HoldsSalem-News.com
Congressional representatives from both parties pledged this week to enact common sense immigration reforms that prevent family separation in 2013.
(PORTLAND, OR) - Undocumented families and allies will rally on Monday to highlight the discrepancy between a growing national movement away from blanket policies to honor ICE detainers, bipartisan support for immigration policies that support family unity, and Multnomah County Sheriff Staton’s insistence on enforcing ICE holds for minor offenders and non-criminal immigrant detainees, at great county expense.
On Tuesday, California Attorney General Harris issued a legal memo to law enforcement stating, in part, “immigration detainers are not mandatory. Instead, they are merely requests... an agency may decide for itself whether to devote resources to holding suspected unlawfully present immigrants on behalf of the federal government”. On Wednesday, Los Angeles Sheriff Baca, formerly a staunch defender of his own policy to honor all ICE holds, announced that he would no longer be honoring ICE holds for low-level crimes. Meanwhile, Congressional representatives from both parties pledged this week to enact common sense immigration reforms that prevent family separation in 2013.
Here in Portland, Sheriff Staton received from community organizations policy recommendations over the summer, and committed to a response by October 15th. We recommended that he limited the use of ICE holds in Multnomah County jails, and restore trust with the immigrant community. After failing to keep his commitment, Sheriff Staton has remained silent on this issue and continued to deport community and family members, causing confusion and frustration.
“I will come out of the shadows and publicly announce my undocumented status in front of the Sheriff Staton’s office everyday if I have to and demand justice for my community,” said Ricardo Varela, a victim of Sheriff Staton’s ICE hold policy. “We will not stop fighting, organizing and sharing our stories until Sheriff Staton stops complying with ICE holds, we know that he has the power to do so”.
Sheriff Staton is tragically out of touch not only with the immigrant community in Multnomah County, but also with the national trajectory of Sheriffs who understand the ICE holds are voluntary and choose to limit their use because of the financial and human cost to the community. We call on him to limit the use of ICE holds in Multnomah County jails immediately.
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