Immigration Raids Make Our Communities Unsafe: Chicago ICE Field Office Enforcement Operations Highlight Clear Violations of Civil and Human Rights

Yesterday Felix Torres, a 53-year-old resident of the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood, was shot by an immigration agent during a home raid in the northwest side of Chicago. Felix is currently hospitalized and according to reports he is in critical condition.

In response, the People’s Response Team, Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), and Mijente put together the following joint statement.

Yesterday’s shooting of Felix Torres by an Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent shows that immigration raids make our communities unsafe and expose the heightened militarized tactics utilized by ICE to detain people in our communities. It also highlights reasons why our local governments must take action to stand on the side of immigrant communities, demand accountability and transparency from ICE, and do everything in their power to help this family and prevent future raids from taking place.

The Chicago ICE Field office and its director, Ricardo Wong, have repeatedly planned and executed violent raids in homes, work places, churches, and locations where our communities are supposed to feel safe. These raids have involved firearms, physical force, threats, manipulation, biometric fingerprinting machines, and ruses with the intent to force their way into people’s homes. These are clear violations of our communities civil and human rights.

The Mayor and the Chicago City Council are considering right now a series of amendments to the Welcoming City Ordinance that would make it harder for ICE to target people in Chicago. However, because of bureaucratic delays it will not be considered at this month’s City Council meeting. As the mayor delays progress on a critical policy, this incident shows the urgency – people’s lives are on the line.

Moreover, our communities’ needs have not been met and have been further destabilized by the city of Chicago’s divestment from mental health clinics, schools, and public programming.  It is not enough to have police and ICE break ties – both agencies receive heavy funding from local and federal government, funding that could instead be used to invest in our Black, brown and immigrant communities. ICE and police have taken our sanity, our safety, and our humanity hostage.

We continue to demand accountability for the well-being of our communities, and adamantly seek justice for every individual who has been irreparably wronged by this system.  

We remain steadfast in our commitment to organize to dismantle ICE and defund the police in order to create a Chicago where we are all safe.

We urge those who may have been survivors of ICE’s violent tactics to report it to OCAD by calling the Family Defense Hotline at 855-435-7693.

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