Windham, CT – On Tuesday, March 28th in Windham, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials continued its attack on undocumented residents. Recently revealed reports by local witnesses claim that three individuals were arrested by ICE officers in plain clothes while on their way to their jobs. These recent arrests demonstrate a significant escalation of ICE attacks on our community, and show little regard for recently passed city ordinances protecting undocumented immigrants in Windham.
On January 17, 2017, the Windham Town Council voted in favor of passing a resolution to declare sanctuary city status to the town, as well as a commitment to create a Municipal I.D. program, allowing undocumented people to better participate in the growth of the community. A bipartisan resolution was passed by a majority vote with 6 Democrats and 2 Republicans.
The Connecticut Trust Act (Public Act No. 13-155) was passed by the Connecticut State Legislature in 2013. The primary aim of this legislation was to limit collaboration between ICE and local and state police. The law states that “No law enforcement officer who receives a civil immigration detainer with respect to an individual who is in the custody of the law enforcement officer shall detain such individual pursuant to such civil immigration detainer,” except for in situations of serious offenses.
“These recent attempts by ICE call into question the weaknesses in Connecticut’s Trust Act, which doesn’t fully protect the constitutional rights of people residing in the US,” said Muguerza-Calle. “The current Trust Act is just a window dressing when it comes to protecting immigrants. We need to expand the law to protect due process rights for detainees. Why are politicians stalling on this in CT?
The names or identities of the detainees have not been disclosed. The coalition, comprised of leaders from the CT Immigrants Rights Alliance, Embracing the Same Dream, CT Students for a Dream and Windham Area Progressive Action, is working with family members, local police, advocates and community members to ascertain the status of the arrested individuals. Witness accounts claim that ununiformed ICE agents apprehended three men on their way to work. It has been confirmed that at least one of the men has a family here in town.
“Impersonating local police is a corrosive practice for public safety and violates our Constitution,” said Renato Muguerza-Calle, [WIRC]. “ICE’s use of detainers to imprison people without due process or probable cause – not just for undocumented people, but also green card holders – is a fundamental break from our rule of law.
“Despite efforts by ICE to undermine the trust built between local police and community members, the undocumented community is resolved not to cower in fear,” said Muguerza-Calle. “We will fight these inhumane and unlawful tactics every step of the way. We will not be terrorized. We will remain vigilant, record and disseminate every instance of their attacks on our community’s safety.”
Members of the undocumented community, as well as friends and families in Windham, are advised to attend a “Know Your Rights” workshop on Thursday, April 6th at 6:30pm at St. Mary’s Joseph School located at 35 Valley Street in Willimantic.
Speakers will update the community on ICE’s activities in Windham and advise residents about how to best guard against detainments.