By Charles Sercombe
According to the Muslim civil rights advocacy group CAIR, federal agents with the Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agency have been active in Hamtramck looking for illegal immigrants.
According to CAIR (Council on American–Islamic Relations), community members called them saying ICE agents were pulling over cars and knocking on doors.
The story was originally reported recently in the weekly news and cultural publication, The Metro Times.
ICE, however, denied making a random sweep in the area.
“There is no truth we are targeting Hamtramck,” said Khaalid Walls, of the Detroit office for ICE, in a telephone interview with The Review. “Our effort is targeted toward specific individuals.”
CAIR’s attorney, Amy Doukoure, told The Review that residents here sent them Snapchat photos via email of agents in the city.
Doukoure said she was unable to share those photos because they could not be retrieved once they were viewed.
According to CAIR’s website, its mission “is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding through education, mediation, media and the law.”
Hamtramck City Councilmember Anam Miah said he was aware of the Metro Times story but had not heard from anyone in the community who witnessed ICE agents in the city.
Police Chief Anne Moise said her department was not contacted by ICE about any raids or arrests.
Councilmember Saad Almasmari, who is running for state representative, said he has not heard of anyone having contact with ICE agents or seeing them.
Hamtramck has a growing population of immigrants from Bangladesh and Yemen.
ICE agents have been accused before of conducting random sweeps throughout the country.
In March of this year the San Francisco Chronicle reported ICE agents conducted what some observers said was a sweep that netted over 200 immigrants in northern California.
ICE representatives insisted that all investigations are based on information about specific individuals. But ICE concedes that there are people who are arrested outside the scope of investigations and are considered “collateral arrests” of those who happen to be in the immediate area of an investigation.
In an email to The Review, ICE spokesman Walls confirmed that on occasions there are additional arrests made.
“During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE,” Walls said.
In 2008 Hamtramck’s city council passed an ordinance to give immigrants some protections, but did not go so far as shielding illegal immigrants.
The ordinance forbids police officers from profiling and does not allow officers and city employees to inquire about a person’s immigration status.
It also allows undocumented immigrants to receive city services.
July 13, 2018