Schakowsky, Espaillat, Quigley Lead Letter Asking DHS to End Program that Entangles Local Law Enforcement with Immigration Enforcement

February 12, 2021
Press Release
59 Others Members of Congress Join Call for Immediate End to Burdensome Programs

EVANSTON – Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, was joined by Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Congressman Mike Quigley in asking Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to immediately end three programs that create unnecessary burdens on local law enforcement. These controversial programs places unnecessary burdens on state and local law enforcement budgets and personnel. Local law enforcement leaders have opposed programs and attempts to make state and local departments extensions of federal enforcement efforts.

“For the last four years, our immigrant communities have suffered severe trauma, living in fear that any interaction with local law enforcement would lead to their deportation and separation from their families,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky (IL-09). “It is time to put an end to the harassment and abuse perpetrated by ICE. That is why my colleagues and I are calling on Secretary Mayorkas to work with us to ensure that ICE cannot co-opt state and local resources for questionable, and often racially discriminatory, immigration enforcement tactics. Our immigrant communities deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity – ending ICE’s entanglement with local law enforcement is a critical step towards achieving this.”

“My colleagues and I are urging Secretary Mayorkas to end these unjust law enforcement programs leftover by the Trump administration that instill fear in our immigrant communities — fear costs lives,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Immigrants are the most at risk to experience domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other crimes, but because of these harmful Trump-era policies, many are afraid to reach out to local law enforcement for support, fearing that their lives may be upended by doing so. This is unacceptable, undermines public safety, and is fundamentally un-American. Immigrants should not have to choose between life-saving support and the possibility of deportation. We hope Secretary Mayorkas will put an end to these nonsensical and inherently xenophobic practices that were reinvigorated by the Trump administration. It’s the only way we can begin to build back better.”

“For years, the Trump administration’s ICE policies fomented a culture of fear in immigrant communities, making them wary of their own law enforcement agencies and reducing the ability of local law enforcement to do their jobs. Terminating these programs is a critical step to returning to an immigration enforcement system that prioritizes justice over fear,” said Congressman Quigley (IL-05). “I’m proud to join my colleagues to call on the Biden DHS to end the Trump-era programs that aimed to terrorize rather than protect.”

A full, signed copy of the letter is available HERE.

The letter was signed by 59 other Members of Congress including: Representatives Barragán, Beyer, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Brown, Bush, Cárdenas, Carson, Castro, Chu, Clarke, Connolly, Correa, Danny K. Davis, Escobar, Foster, Gallego, Sylvia Garcia, Jesús G. "Chuy" García, Gomez, Grijalva, Hayes, Jacobs, Jayapal, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr., Jones, Kelly, Barbara Lee, Lieu, Lowenthal, Maloney, McCollum, McGovern, Meeks, Meng, Napolitano, Newman, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pallone, Pocan, Pressley, Price, Rush, San Nicolas, Sánchez, Takano, Tlaib, Ritchie Torres, Trone, Vargas, Velázquez, Wasserman Schultz, Watson Coleman, Welch, Wilson.