Rep. Gutiérrez Risks Arrest At Meeting With Chicago ICE Officials
Chicago, IL – Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) led a delegation of about 22 advocates, attorneys, clergy, service providers and local and federal officials to meet with the Acting Regional ICE Director Glenn Trivline in Chicago to discuss deportation cases and the way ICE is conducting business under the Trump Administration. The Congressman and his colleagues made a series of demands, including reversing decisions to deport certain long-term immigrants with deep roots in the community. Unsatisfied by the response to these demands, the Illinois Congressman and a number of the others in the meeting decided to stay and are risking arrest until their demands are met.
Specifically, the Congressman was there to ask ICE to reverse its decision to deport Francisca Lino, the mother of 6 children, four of whom were born in the US, and wife of one US citizen the Congressman has known for years who has come to ICE year after year to report as ordered and only a few days ago was told at her regular annual check-in that this time they were ordering her deported. The Congressman has long defended Mrs. Lino as someone who should not be targeted by ICE enforcement and had met with Mr. Trivline about her case at least once before in 2008. https://gutierrez.house.gov/press-release/gutierrez-meeting-ice-yields-progress-mother-facing-deportation
We are now receiving multiple reports nationally that DREAMers who have signed up for, paid for, and been approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, are being detained or processed for deportation. Last week ICE began Tweeting out threats that people with DACA are not protected from deportation and could be detained.
At the Congressman’s jam-packed Community Town Hall event a week ago, he heard from teachers in Chicago Public Schools who are distraught because they do not know how to console families and students who are living in fear of having their parents taken away from them.
The Congressman joined the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in February asking for a meeting with the Acting Director of ICE, which was granted and then abruptly cancelled. That was shortly after the first round of Trump’s Muslim and refugee bans.
A second meeting was scheduled in the US Capitol with Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan for February 17, but Republican Members of Congress acted as gatekeepers for that meeting. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte asked Congressman Gutierrez and several Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and others to leave.
There has been no dialogue, no transparency, no consultation, and no accountability – just like every other aspect of how this White House does business. It is heavy-handed government in secret all to make the new strongman President look tough and to satisfy the cravings of his coliseum audience for some immigrants to sacrifice.
The reality is that Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon know they cannot deport 10 or 11 million people without getting more resources from Congress for officers, detention beds and foster care for displaced children, so they are trying to multiply the power of their anti-immigrant deportation activities by stirring up fear in immigrant communities. This is the strategy they have labeled “attrition through enforcement” or “attrition through fear” and it is an effort to get families with deep roots in the U.S. to self-deport, to leave this country and their lives and property here.
Mass deportation is a nationwide crisis affecting non-citizens from coast-to-coast, but today U.S. citizens are acting locally to say “stop.” Congressman Gutierrez and 6 other U.S. citizens decided they are willing to risk arrest in order to make their position crystal clear – mass deportation is not going to happen without a fight.
Rep. Gutiérrez is in his 13th term representing the Fourth District of Illinois. He is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
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