In Multnomah County, Oregon families have been experiencing the trauma and destruction created by Immigration Customs Enforcement “(ICE) holds”. ICE holds is a discriminatory process where local police holds a person in jail for a low level charge, beyond the standard 24 hour period by the request of ICE. During the a public testimony, Kayse Jama from the Center of Intercultural Organizing shared the story of a 19-year-old Somali man who ended up being sent the Northwest ICE Detention Center in Tacoma after not being able to afford MAX fare. This young man spent more than two months at the Tacoma ICE Detention Center before being released back to his family.
This voluntary partnership between local police and ICE damages families and communities they live in by enabling a process that holds people in prison beyond what is fair, then funnels immigrants into detention centers for possible deportation. Andrea Valderrama, of Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project describes what she has seen and heard from Voz members, “families are being torn apart and fear of deportation or imprisonment builds distrust in local police.”
In response, Social Justice Fund grantees like Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project, Causa Oregon, Jobs with Jus-tice, and Center for Intercultural Organizing joined others in a collective effort through the Activists Coming Together for Safety and Justice Network (ACT Network) to work on one critical issue: Ending Police/ICE Collaboration. Together they were able to leverage each others’ strengths and work in solidarity to address the damage being done to their communities, prevent their families from continuing to be torn apart, and rebuild trust with an agency charged with serving their communities.
After almost three years of community education, activism, and many long conversations, the ACT Network won a big victory that puts Multnomah County one step closer towards ending all Police/ICE collaboration. On April 4, 2013 Oregon’s Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the Multnomah County Sherriff's resolution and decision to stop complying with ICE in detaining community members for low level charges. The collective organizing effort of Voz, Causa Oregon, Jobs with Justice, Center for Intercultural Organizing, ACT Network, and many others made this win possible. Read Oregon’s local press coverage on the approved resolutions here
And for more info from some of the Grantees who worked together in Multnomah County go to:
While this is an incredible, impressive win for immigrant rights in Oregon, as a nation we still have more work to do. ICE/Police collaborations are still happening in many other parts of the Northwest. For info on Seattle's efforts against ICE Holds, visit http://whoillegalseattle.wordpress.com/