May 9, 2017

EDITORIAL: ICE Arrest Shows Limits of Sanctuary Cities

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Last Wednesday, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 32-year old Mexican national and Ithaca resident Jose L. Guzman. The event was confirmed and only widely spread once reporters investigated the swift and shocking arrest, a bleak reminder that federal agencies are operating faster than ever under the auspices of the  current administration.

ICE has become more active over the past few months, increasing their arrests by a staggering 32.6 percent only a few weeks after Trump assumed the presidency. Under the Obama administration, federal agents were directed to focus on serious criminals  — now, empowered by the new administration, ICE is increasingly merciless in its efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, even those with no criminal record. “Before, we used to be told, ‘You can’t arrest those people,’ and we’d be disciplined for being insubordinate if we did…Now those people are priorities again,” a 10-year veteran of the ICE agency admitted to The New York Times.

Guzman’s arrest highlights the limits of local authority regarding immigration matters. Even though the Ithaca Police Department is prohibited by sanctuary city legislation from assisting in federal immigration activities, ICE and other agents are still very capable of operating unaided inside the Ithaca limits, as evidenced by last week’s events. Although Ithaca’s decision to adopt sanctuary city status is commendable, we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent — the work is far from over.

More than 300 residents, Cornell students and local officials rallied at the Bernie Milton Pavilion in downtown Ithaca on Wednesday, the day after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested a man who they said is in the country illegally.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

More than 300 residents, Cornell students and local officials rallied at the Bernie Milton Pavilion in downtown Ithaca on Wednesday, the day after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested a man who they said is in the country illegally.

The Ithaca and Cornell community quickly organized a rally in support of Guzman the day following the arrest — students, faculty and Ithaca locals came together to express their fears and concerns. We need more of this type of activism; every protest is a clear demonstration that such aggressive efforts by ICE to deport immigrants will not be tolerated. The next task for the community is to put Guzman in touch with his lawyer, who has been prohibited from seeing him since his arrest.

ICE’s actions have taught us not to take the safety of our friends and acquaintances for granted; we must involve ourselves in more discussions about what we can do to uphold the security of students. We need to empower not only each other, but the entire Cornell community to take a firmer stance on sanctuary status. We cannot let this arrest divide us or send us into a state of panicked chaos; we must make it clearer that ICE is unwelcome and that we will do all we can to fight for “any person, any study.”

  • MILO

    If you love having illegals coming here, why don’t y’all move to Central America?

  • Will

    This editorial is completely absurd. First, Guzman was not a student. He is someone previously arrested for a stabbing incident who is in this country illegally. Second, have all those protesting his arrest ever heard of federalism? The US government has the right to operate throughout the country. A municipality cannot restrict the national government. I wonder how many demanding the ouster of ICE from Ithaca were upset when the Obama administration interfered with the State of North Carolina in its public safety efforts. It is laughable to see the “any person, any study” mantra used to justify every liberal cause imaginable, even those that are illegal.

    • MILO

      Liberals reek of hypocrisy when just a few years back they applauded King Obama’s big-government dictatorship.

  • Dr. Necessitor

    Barbara Jorden

    Below are the words of Texas Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (1936 –1996). Some background: Ms. Jordan was the first black person elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first southern black woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Rep. Jordan was appointed Chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform by President Clinton. In 1995, after the Commission released its findings and recommendations, Rep. Jordan was called to testify before Congress on the issue of immigration and this formerly poor, black, empathetic, brilliant Democrat gave the following statement on immigration policy:

    “Those who are supposed to get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave. The top priorities for detention and removal, of course, are criminal aliens. But for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process.”