Ac­tivists plan to march in protest of ICE’s Cit­i­zens Academy

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY ELVIA MALAGÓN, STAFF RE­PORTER emalagon@sun­times.com | @Elvi­aMalagon Elvia Malagón’s re­port­ing on so­cial jus­tice and in­come in­equal­ity is made pos­si­ble by a grant from the Chicago Com­mu­nity Trust.

A hand­ful of im­mi­gra­tion ac­tivists are plan­ning a march through the Loop to protest U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment’s Cit­i­zens Academy in Chicago.

Stand­ing out­side of the fed­eral agency’s field of­fice in the Loop, the ac­tivists an­nounced Mon­day their plans to march from the build­ing to the Fed­eral Plaza on Sept. 15, which is the same day the academy is ex­pected to start. The march is ex­pected to start at 10 a.m.

Manuel Re­vueltes, one of the ac­tivists, de­scribed the academy as a dis­grace and said it was ir­re­spon­si­ble for the academy to move for­ward. He be­lieves the academy will lead to in­creased hate against the im­mi­grant com­mu­nity.

“The only thing it will do is pit the com­mu­nity against each other,” Re­vueltes said in Span­ish.

Sept. 15 also marks the start of His­panic Her­itage Month.

The academy will take place six days a week for six weeks with res­i­dents gain­ing in­sight into the agency’s op­er­a­tions. It will in­clude a trip to one of the jails where im­mi­grants fac­ing de­por­ta­tion are housed in the Chicago area.

“The Cit­i­zens Academy also af­fords ICE the op­por­tu­nity to hear from par­tic­i­pants, un­der­stand their per­spec­tives and de­bunk myths,” the fed­eral agency said in a news re­lease.

An ICE of­fi­cial pre­vi­ously told the Sun­Times the academy is in­tended to be mod­eled af­ter other law en­force­ment acad­e­mies, and it is not sup­posed to train reg­u­lar peo­ple to do the work of im­mi­gra­tion agents.

But im­mi­gra­tion ad­vo­cates have called for ICE to stop its plans for the academy, wor­ried it will lead to racial pro­fil­ing of im­mi­grants and to more fear among the im­mi­grant com­mu­nity.

Maria Ro­gel, another ac­tivist, called for the com­mu­nity to come to­gether to op­pose the academy that will lead to im­mi­grants fear­ing their own neigh­bors. She said the plans come on top of health con­cerns the com­mu­nity al­ready has be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

The Rev. Jose Lan­dav­erde, leader of the Faith, Life and Hope Mis­sion church, said the group dur­ing the march will call for an end to de­por­ta­tions, an end to the academy and will call on the gov­ern­ment to start ac­cept­ing applicatio­ns for the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals.

ELVIA MALAGÓN/SUN-TIMES

Im­mi­gra­tion ac­tivists an­nounce their plan Mon­day to march through the Loop on Sept. 15 to protest ICE’s Cit­i­zens Academy.

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