A project of the Center for Community Change

Waukegan Residents Fight a Memorandum of Understanding between their Police and ICE

Residents of most US towns want to preserve the public safety and unity of their communities. That is precisely why so many are fighting the signing of Memorandums of Understanding in their communities.

We have a number of resources that we’ve been able to collect from allies including the ACLU, FIAC, Iowa CCI and other organizations. If you’d like more information send an email to nwells@communitychange.org.

They latest fight we’ve heard of is happening in Waukegan, Illinois- here is what the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has said about the fight:

Statement by Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights on the City of Waukegan’s application to enforce immigration laws

Given the vacuum left by the failure of the Senate immigration reform bill, local communities are beginning to act on their own to try to deal with our broken immigration system.  In one such attempt, the City of Waukegan, Illinois, recently proposed an agreement that would allow local police officers to enforce federal immigration law. Yet the proposed agreement— called 287(g)—between the City of Waukegan and federal immigration authorities is the absolute wrong direction. It is a non-solution that would result in a community rife with unbridled fear, unreported crime, and racial division.

Allowing local police to enforce immigration law would strain the already tense relationship between Waukegan police and the city’s immigrant community.  Every police force counts on the community to be its eyes and ears, but if this proposal were to pass, undocumented immigrants would be far less likely to report a theft, a drug sale, or even a more serious crime.  Given the already strained relationship between the Latino immigrant community and the City of Waukegan, this proposal would only add insult to injury for Latinos in Waukegan, who make up 53.4% of the City’s population according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey. It would lead to increased racial profiling and an atmosphere of distrust between whole communities and the police that are called to protect and serve them. 

We urge the City Council to revoke Waukegan’s 287(g) application.  Waukegan now stands poised to take one of two distinct directions: an anxious leap into mutual distrust, shared suspicion, and racial polarization; or a reasoned step toward shared trust, mutual respect, and a safe, vibrant community.

We encourage all residents of Waukegan to contact the Mayor and their Aldermen to urge them to defeat this disastrous proposal.

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