In President Donald Trump’s continued effort to eliminate immigration to the United States, it was revealed this week that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) plans to hold training sessions for citizens to teach them how to arrest undocumented immigrants. To say that this program (dubbed the “Citizens Academy”) could lead to devastating consequences for immigrants is an understatement.
As reported by Newsweek, “A letter published online by The St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) appears to show ICE Chicago Field Office Director Robert Guadian inviting shareholders to participate in the course, which includes six days of training over a six-week period starting in September.” A copy of this letter can be found here.
According to Field Director Guadian, this program would be the first of its kind and would “serve as a pilot for nationwide implementation.” The planned courses would include “defensive tactics, firearms familiarization and targeted arrests.”
Understandably so, many immigrant advocates and legislators are outraged and appalled by the development of this program, which was never brought to the attention of lawmakers prior to its announcement. Speaking with Newsweek, “Chicago Congressman Jesús ‘Chuy’ García said he was disturbed by the program, which he fears will lead to racial profiling, surveillance and potential violence.”
Sara John, the executive director of the St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) also shared her shock with Newsweek, stating, “We are outraged at the launch of yet another immoral initiative used by ICE to criminalize and destroy our families [. . .] The Citizens Academy program will train citizens to perpetuate race-based violence and further normalizes hate crimes that already devastate our neighborhoods.”
The Trump Administration’s strikes on immigration in the United States have been countless over the past three years. New policies continue to harm the lives of immigrants and their families daily. If you are in need of immigration assistance, please contact our office as we continue to advocate for the rights of immigrants throughout the country and the world.