ICE Threatening to Train Citizens to Surveil Undocumented Immigrants
Government immigration agents tend to identify themselves as agents, whether by their words, or by the clothing or uniform that they wear. But there is a new push to “deputize” ordinary citizens, training them to do Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) work for them. The program is a scary development in the seemingly never ending attempts to turn the general public against immigration issues.
ICE Promises a Training Academy
According to a recent article, ICE is kicking off a brand new program, which promises to train ordinary citizens, who are not government employees nor law enforcement agents, to arrest undocumented immigrants. The program was revealed when a letter from an ICE field director was uncovered, inviting citizens to participate in the six-week course. The field director goes on to boast that the program will eventually expand nationwide.
The program promises to train citizens in arms usage, arrests, and “defensive tactics.” The training would include both in class instruction, but also visiting detention centers, learning about how ICE provides health care to detainees, and examining ICE’s role in legal cases involving immigrants. ICE says it is just trying to expose citizens to the self-defense and de-escalation aspects of the training that ICE agents normally go through.
ICE also claims that the program will show attendees the “humanitarian efforts” that exist anytime ICE makes an arrest, as well as the due process procedures that are followed by ICE when arresting individuals.
The individuals invited to the training included state elected officials, congressional staff, and leaders in business and religion. Graduates of the program would receive a certificate and, yes, a commemorative coin memorializing completion of the course.
ICE Denies Anything is Wrong With the Program
An ICE spokesman calls the program a part of ICE’s “community relations,” and claims the program is on par with that of other government agencies which often “engage and educate” the public, in ICE’s words. ICE denies that it is training anyone to do enforcement of immigration laws, or to do any job that ICE is supposed to be doing.
As you can imagine, many are concerned that this is nothing more than a citizens academy, designed to make ordinary people into the eyes and ears of the government and training them to do surveillance on behalf of the government. There is no indication that the program was ever approved by Congress, or even run by members of congress, before being implemented.
Many citizens could feel the training is permission to profile, or even commit violent acts against those seen as violating immigration laws. Some say the program threatens to normalize what otherwise would be hate crimes, or to create a “vigilante” culture against immigrants.
There is, however, no indication that graduates of the program would have the legal right to actually carry out arrests of undocumented immigrants.
Questions about your immigration rights? Do you need to apply for a visa or other immigration document? Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group to help you with your immigration questions and problems.