President Donald Trump’s hardline policies on immigration have caused public opinion to turn against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sparking protests and calls to abolish the agency in counties across the country, The Washington Post reports.
Activists in Alexandria, Virginia, are working to put pressure on the sheriff to pull out of an agreement with ICE to detain migrants. Protestors in Philadelphia camped outside city hall for weeks under a banner reading: “ICE Get Out” until the city ended its practice of giving arrest information to immigration authorities in real-time, which it did after protestors met with the mayor following an attempted sit-in in his office.
“If I could abolish ICE, I would,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, said at the time. “But we can abolish this contract, and we are.”
“As long as elected officials have a voluntary agreement with ICE, our immigrant families will hide in the shadows and be in fear and not trust law enforcement,” said Ingris Moran, the lead organizer for the advocacy group Tenants and Workers United.
The Post notes that federal law grants ICE the ability to make deals with local municipalities to house and care for the agency’s detainees, and that ICE got roughly $2.3 billion in 2016 for housing for immigrants in their facilities.
Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne told the Post that the activists working to influence his office “believe it’s putting your thumb in the eye of the current administration. That’s politics. I will not play politics in my office when it comes to public safety.”
No ICE officials accepted the newspaper’s request for an interview.
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