Tuesday’s reported arrest of a man in downtown Ithaca by U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement is the latest example of the federal overreach and lack of accountability characteristic to the Trump administration. Under President Trump, arrests by ICE have increased 47 percent, and arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records have increased a staggering 179 percent.
ICE continues to show a blatant disregard for human dignity, arresting parents dropping their kids off at school, students going to high school prom and patients emerging from operating rooms. On Jan. 16, ICE arrested a Michigan doctor and lawful permanent resident, and have initiated deportation proceedings against him based on two misdemeanor charges from nearly three decades ago, when the man was a teenager.
How does that make us safer? What benefit does America reap from the separation of families and the deportation of friends, coworkers, taxpayers and contributing members of society?
ICE cannot come into our city, snatch our community members off the street in broad daylight and without informing local authorities, and then refuse to divulge any further information, including the identity of the man arrested. We applaud Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 for his vociferous defense of Ithaca’s sanctuary status, and we call on Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to immediately demand answers from ICE regarding their latest intrusion into New York State.
It is irresponsible to allow a national militarized police force to act with such little accountability. And in the wake of a Homeland Security Inspector General report finding that Customs and Border Patrol repeatedly violated a court order against the Muslim Ban, congressional and local leaders must pressure the government for answers.
And if President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DHS Secretary Nielsen believe that their heavy-handed tactics will cow sanctuary cities like Ithaca into submission, they are sadly mistaken. The events of this week will only strengthen our community’s commitment to a more accountable, responsive government, and a more just and welcoming America.