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Union Members Protest ICE Abuses

Starting tomorrow, members of Service Employees International Union are protesting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a two-day prayer vigil outside local ICE offices around the country, including those in Los Angeles, Boston and Minneapolis. This vigil comes after reports of mismanagement of ICE — which SEIU Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina called “completely out of control” — published by The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Department of Homeland Security’s own Office of Inspector General.

From SEIU’s press release today:

Rather than wasting limited funds to chase hard-working, tax-paying cleaners, home-care providers and nannies, the activists will call on President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano to re-focus ICE enforcement on its original goals of targeting crooked employers and criminals.

Thursday and Friday’s vigils are an effort to illustrate the ongoing, human cost of this agency’s misguided, out-of-control immigration enforcement strategy—which only serves to waste taxpayer resources, hurt hardworking people, and devastate local communities. ICE’s “strategy” of sowing misery in workplaces and communities not only fails to tackle the underlying issue of our broken immigration system—it also contradicts efforts to improve wages and working conditions of all U.S. workers.

While other civil rights groups have been vocal about their disapproval of ICE, this looks like the first national attempt to call attention to the agency’s abuses after these recent reports. It’s unlikely this will inspire a response of action from DHS, since these abuses have been documented many times before, but it could mean other groups might start joining the effort. We’ll have to wait and see what comes of this.

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