The report‘s anecdotal accounts, 127 case examples from AILA members covering incidents in 24 states and the District of Columbia, are consistent with DHS’s own data showing deportation of tens of thousands of individuals who have been picked up for minor infractions and who pose no threat to our communities.
The report questions whether federal immigration agents should respond to individual roadside calls by local law enforcement unless there are indications that the person poses a risk to public safety Immigration enforcement must be targeted, and by responding to referrals from local law enforcement in a largely indiscriminate manner, DHS is being diverted from its own stated priorities. In addition, the report raises concerns about the erosion of community trust, hindrances to community policing, and racial profiling.
Ten of the 127 case examples are from Florida. For example, in one of the Florida cases, Mr. B was driving to the pharmacy to pick up asthma medicine for his children when he was pulled over by the police. Two of his children, ages ten and 12, were in the car. The police officer gave no reason for the stop and ticketed Mr. B for driving without a license. The officer then called ICE from the roadside, and ICE agents came to pick up Mr. B. Mr. B asked to be allowed to stay at the car until his brother-in-law arrived to pick up the children, but ICE agents immediately took him into custody. The two children had to wait in the police car at the roadside for 35 minutes until the brother-in-law arrived. Mr. B has no criminal history apart from one prior conviction for driving without a license. He remains in immigration detention although he has three U.S. citizen children, ages three, ten, and 12; and his wife is unable to drive due to a major operation several years ago.
Unfortunately, tragedies like this happen all the time. We need immigration reform and we need it now.