Urgent: Our Sheriff is Working with Trump’s Immigration Police and Deporting Athenians


The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office has been secretly working with ICE to deport Athenians – destroying lives and ripping families apart. This is wrong. It is in clear violation of the constitution. It’s a direct attack on the safety of Athenian immigrants. And by eroding trust in local law enforcement, it makes our whole community less safe.

We can stop this. Please sign our petition!

And Call the Sheriff’s Office: 706-613-3250

Press 0 to speak to an operator; you can ask to speak to Captain Hodges.

Email: sheriff@athensclarkecounty.com

Script:

I’ve recently heard that the Sheriff’s Office has been working with ICE. This is in clear violation of the constitution and opens us up to costly lawsuits. Deporting people and ripping families apart not only hurts those families, but also erodes trust in local law enforcement, and makes all of us less safe. I want to encourage the Sheriff’s Office to stand with their community, and stop working with ICE immediately.

What’s going on?

For years, our Sheriff’s Office in Athens has chosen to not comply with ICE detainer requests because they are unconstitutional and erode trust in local law enforcement. Yet, in July of this year, they quietly began to work with ICE again, breaking promises made to the immigrant community and their allies here in Athens. Community members, A4E, and even the ACC Mayor & Commission didn’t find out about this change in policy until very recently – almost five months later.

On Monday the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition (AIRC), A4E, and County Commissioner Kelly Girtz met with Sheriff Ira Edwards to ask him to return to his previous policy of non-cooperation with ICE.Sheriff Edwards claimed that immigrants might be violent or have terrorist ties, which mimicked the false and dangerous rhetoric of the Trump administration. There is zero evidence of ties to terrorism in the immigrant community in Athens: in fact, immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes than native-born citizens. Despite being informed of this, and being reminded that holding anyone without due process is illegal, the Sheriff has not yet shown the courage to change course.

Detaining Anyone – Including Immigrants – Without Due Process is Illegal

Immigrants in our community and around the country have been living under the threat and reality of detention and deportation for years. This has only become worse since Trump took office.

ICE has greatly increased the use of detainer requests to local sheriffs in the Trump era. Detainer Requests are when ICE asks local law enforcement to hold for 48 hours anyone without documentation, even those picked up for minor offenses like driving without a license, so ICE can take them and start deportation proceedings. In Athens, the Sheriff’s Office oversees the county jail, so these detainer requests are sent to the Sheriff’s Office. There’s a big problem with these requests – even beyond the horror of the deportation itself. Detainer requests are unconstitutional. Law enforcement cannot hold anyone without due process, a right which is described in the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. This right has been upheld time and time again in ICE detainer cases, often with the local government paying hefty fines for violations.

Deportation is a Violation of Human Rights

Deportation violates a person’s right to not be ripped away from their home by the government. Deporting people destroys lives, breaks up families, and causes many more to live in fear. Lives are shattered even for the most minor traffic violations. A4E joins the Athenian immigrant community in calling for an end to all deportations.

In the continued struggle for immigrants’ rights, including the demand for a path to full citizenship and an end to all deportations, we must now get the Sheriff’s office to overturn this policy and stop complying with illegal ICE requests. The Sheriff’s Office knows they are ethically and legally in the wrong: with your help, we can get them to do what is right!

Please sign our petition today!

You can also call the Sheriff (706-613-3253) or send an email (sheriff@athensclarkecounty.com).

Tell him: Working with is ICE is wrong. It rips families apart. It is in clear violation of the constitution. And by eroding trust in local law enforcement, it makes our community less safe.

Athens is a caring community that rejects the racism and fearmongering coming from the Trump administration. Together, we can protect immigrants and make our community a safe place for all.

Athens for Everyone
December 6, 2017

 

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