Last week, the Trump Administration gutted restrictions preventing the deportation of law-abiding undocumented immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security memos call for the removal of nearly all undocumented immigrants, a tripling of the number ICE agents, and the stripping of due process and privacy protections. ICE agents have now begun conducting raids on church shelters and courthouses.
To counteract Trump’s mass deportation will require all of the strategies in our activism toolkit. Wall-of-Us will continue to consult with immigration policy experts and feature the most strategic actions. This week we spoke with our allies at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) who advised us that one of the best strategies is engaging county law enforcement.
Here’s why. Though Trump holds the pen, most of the boots on the ground belong to local law enforcement, whose cooperation Trump needs to carry out his agenda. But as the ILRC explains in their report, “Local law enforcement has no legal obligation to assist with civil immigration enforcement, which is the responsibility of the federal government.” ILRC goes on to explain why sheriffs are key to fighting mass deportations:
“Although there are many problems with biased policing against immigrants, ICE regularly operates out of county jails across the country interrogating inmates in local custody, asking sheriffs to deliver information on immigrants, and requesting that jails that hold people at ICE’s convenience. Thus it is primarily the county’s policy regarding assistance with deportations that governs how immigrants may be profiled and funneled into the deportation pipeline.” (ILRC Report, page 4)
Here’s the key thing to remember--sheriffs (with few exceptions) are elected officials. That means that the same strategies of direct engagement that we have been honing on our Members of Congress will work on them too! So let’s get started.
2. Call your sheriff’s office and use this script.
3. If your sheriff is cooperating with Trump and thereby putting his agenda above the safety of the community, post this on social media:
“Sheriff _____ @[add their handle], deportation is Trump's priority, not our community's. Focus on safety and prevention, not deportation. #WallofUs"