CT: Immigrants targeted by ICE

Connecticut, home of thousands of documented and undocumented immigrants, has seen its reputation as "Sanctuary State" questioned, after "The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut" (ACLU) publicly denounced that eight Connecticut police agencies are sharing immigrants’ private information with the "Immigration and Customs Enforcement" (ICE).

ACLU, posted in its website an article accusing police enforcement of Fairfield, Westport, Enfield, Wethersfield, Stratford, Trumbull, and Norwalk of sharing information on the whereabouts of thousands of documented and undocumented residents through the research company Vigilant Solutions, which offers services to several State agencies nationwide with the purpose of “curbing” crime. However, the complaint alleges that many of the records obtained by the Police have been shared with ICE, resulting in recent massive immigration raids, targeting cities where segregated minorities live.

Additionally, the on-campus police of Southern Connecticut State University's is also involved in the scandal. These allegations have fueled many immigrant advocates, who are calling these actions a “betrayal to all communities,” and a serious breach of the ‘Connecticut Trust Act.”, which protects documented and undocumented immigrants from attacks of discrimination and racism in our State.

Jonathan Gonzalez Cruz, a member of UCLA, said in the statement that, "It is particularly ironic that SCSU celebrates Social Justice Month, when the University cannot prioritize social justice and is helping ICE to separate families, and students.”

Law enforcement involved in these claims have flatly denied any connection to the ICE agency, except the Westport Police Department, who have not denied nor affirmed the allegations, stating, “Sharing information with federal agencies is critical to the safety of officers and residents.”

On March 8, activists, organizations and various Connecticut representatives, participated in public hearings in the State Capitol to take action against anti-immigration proposals.  For instance, the SB 993, a bill initiated by Senator Robert Sampson (R), who's been inciting the deportation of immigrants whether they are Green Card holders or undocumented residents. His proposal call for local and State officials to cooperate with federal immigration agencies to detain and deport immigrants.

On the other hand, the assembly had several testimonies of people expressing oppression, discrimination, and abuse from some authorities, as well the separation of families, and the lack of understanding for human rights from lawmakers and law enforcement.

Moreover, the Judicial and Education Committees also submitted pro-immigrant bills such as the SB 992 (Trust Act), SB 948, and SB 364 to protect honest immigrants who contribute economically to the development of our State.

Representative, Edwin Vargas (D) spoke to IDENTIDAD LATINA and expressed, “I oppose bills that try to turn municipal and state police officers into immigration deputies. We want the Police to collaborate with all communities, whether documented or undocumented. If we allow them to become immigration agents, people will not trust them, and they will not report crimes and abuses.”

Jesus Morales Sanchez of CT Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA), said, “Bill SB 948 if approved, would help immigrants who have a minor offense with the Police so that it is not taken as a serious crime or felony. People have to call their Representatives and Senators and tell them that we are against Project SB 993. We have to say that we do not want the Police to collaborate with ICE, and that any detained immigrant must have access to an attorney in Immigration Courts.”

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa
Identidad Latina Newspaper

Identidad Latina
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