CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—November 13, 2017
By: Barbara Suarez Galeano, Organized Communities Against Deportation and Tania Unzueta, Mijente
Organizations around the country are highlighting local ICE enforcement tactics and filing a federal lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for refusing to release information regarding the recent announcement of the what was supposed to be “largest raid in U.S. history.”
At the same time as the lawsuit is filed, community groups around the country will highlight local conditions, community fights, and local ICE enforcement tactics.
In early September after it was announced that ICE would conduct the largest mass raid in U.S. history, Operation Mega, over 200 groups filed a FOIA requesting information about the planned mass raid, particularly after its supposed cancellation. ICE has refused to make the information public, denying the FOIA request. The lawsuit, argues that the public has a right to this information to see, analyze, and if needed, denounce.
By denouncing immigration enforcement activities and tactics and organizing against deportations, groups taking part of these actions are making public some of the information that ICE has refused to release.
An emblematic example of the abuse of power and lack of accountability characteristic of ICE and its operations, is the arrest of Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez, a father from the Back of the Yards neighborhood who was violently detained without a warrant in March of this year. Mr. Catalan-Ramirez’s detention resulted in severe injuries.
Despite the glaring irregularities and mistreatment that Mr. Catalan-Ramirez has faced at the hands of ICE, he continues to be detained in McHenry Detention Center where he currently faces debilitating seizures without the possibility of proper medical care. ICE and the McHenry Detention Center continue to collude to retaliate against Wilmer, denying him access to visitors or carrying out his 6 month hearing which would review his case and possibilities for release.
Mr. Catalan-Ramirez has an immigration hearing on November 22nd, which will discuss the trajectory of his deportation proceedings, but will not address his current detention or health concerns.
Public Citizen and the National Immigration Project of the NLG, also a plaintiff, represents Mijente and Detention Watch Network (DWN) in this lawsuit, which is on behalf of Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) and 200 other local individuals and organizations.