Torres, Aguilar to ICE: “Reconsider Any Proposal to Lease Space for an ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Office in Our Districts”

September 27, 2019
Press Release

Recent reports have emerged that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement seeks to lease space in the Inland Empire

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (CA-35) and Pete Aguilar (CA-31) sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Matthew Albence in opposition to the agency’s proposal to lease space in the Inland Empire. In the letter, the Southern California lawmakers reject the Trump administration’s brutal treatment of detained immigrants in ICE custody and the expansion of ICE immigration enforcement operations no matter where they occur.

 

“We write to express our opposition to the leasing of any space for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) office in any of the districts we represent,” the Southern California lawmakers wrote. “…We have been horrified by the brutal treatment of detained immigrants by ICE during the Trump administration. The abuse of children and the denial of basic medical treatment and access to legal representation are affronts to the fundamental values that our communities hold dear. We reject any proposal that would bring these unacceptable practices to the districts we represent.”

 

In addition to Torres and Aguilar, the letter was also signed by Representatives Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Mark Takano (CA-41), and Judy Chu (CA-27).

 

The full text of the letter is below:

 

Dear Acting Director Albence,

 

We write to express our opposition to the leasing of any space for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) office in any of the districts we represent.

           

In recent days, municipal officials have alerted us to notifications from the United States General Services Administration (GSA) that ICE seeks to lease space in a delineated area that includes portions of each of the districts we represent. The notifications list “office space” as the purpose for the lease, but our offices have received additional information indicating that the space would be used for an ERO office.

           

Since 2017, many families we represent have lived with growing anxiety as the result of threats by the Trump administration to conduct raids in immigrant communities across the country. Fear of ICE activity has led many children to stay home from schools and has led families to avoid doctors’ office visits. It has eroded trust between the community and law enforcement. Increased ICE presence in our districts would only make these problems worse, not better.

           

Furthermore, we have been horrified by the brutal treatment of detained immigrants by ICE during the Trump administration. The abuse of children and the denial of basic medical treatment and access to legal representation are affronts to the fundamental values that our communities hold dear. We reject any proposal that would bring these unacceptable practices to the districts we represent.

 

We therefore strongly urge you to reconsider any plan to lease space for an ERO office in our districts. Please know that our opposition to such leases does not end with our own districts, but also extends to our colleagues’ districts, as we oppose the expansion of ICE immigration enforcement operations no matter where they occur. 

 

Thank you in advance for your attention to this important issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

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