Immigration advocates in Illinois say a new ICE program set to launch in September will racially profile immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is scheduled to open the first-ever Citizens Academy in Chicago on September 15. According to an ICE press release, “The Citizens Academy also affords ICE the opportunity to hear from participants, understand their perspectives and debunk myths” and:
• give residents insight into the agency’s operations
• include a trip to one of the jails that contracts with ICE to hold people in immigration custody
• be open 6 days a week for 6 weeks
The Citizens Academy was initially scheduled in January but it was rescheduled to September. Immigration advocates fear this will lead to normal citizens racially profiling immigrants, and acting as vigilantes and attempting to do the work of immigration agents.
Chicago and Illinois are known for welcoming and integrating immigrants into the community. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted,
“In this welcoming city, vigilantes are NOT welcome. ICE’s plan to train civilians to surveil and intimidate immigrant and refugee communities is vile. We will always stand up for and protect all of our residents, no matter who this administration tries to scapegoat.”
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, proposed an amendment to the Homeland Security funding bill for the 2021 fiscal year to deny funding for the Citizen Academy program. The amendment passed:
“The United States is not a police state where ordinary men and women are deputized to carry out immigration enforcement based on discriminatory racial-profiling practices. The so-called Citizens Academy program would do nothing less than train Americans to suspect their friends and neighbors of being dangerous criminals, regardless of their actual immigration status.”
The immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Chicago serve the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at 855-554-6369.