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Stop detaining immigrants!

Stop detaining immigrants

Ohio policymakers have, overall, taken commendable, aggressive measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19. However, there is an easy action state and local officials have yet to take that could save potentially thousands of lives — suspend local law enforcement cooperation with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). This country is the world leader in immigration detention, with a daily average of 37,000 immigrants incarcerated; hundreds of those individuals are held in county jails and detention facilities right here in Ohio.

Despite what many assume, these are not dangerous criminals. One’s immigration status is a civil matter, meaning being undocumented is not a crime. Yet, due to punitive “zero tolerance” immigration policies, thousands of immigrants end up detained for legal “violations,” the equivalent of failing to register one’s car. These individuals are held in overcrowded facilities with little available medical treatment and no room for social distancing. The spread of COVID-19 poses not just a health risk to these immigrants, but the facility’s staff, the families of staff members, and the U.S. citizens also held in these facilities.

Most of these immigrants end up detained through ICE partnerships with local law enforcement agencies (LEAs), often encountering immigrants through routine interactions, such as traffic stops. When LEAs partner with ICE, it creates fear of government and authorities within immigrant communities. This only serves to discourage immigrants and their families from seeking medical care, which can only further the spread of COVID-19.

Local county sheriffs and county commissioner boards can call for a secession of cooperation with ICE. County jails can stop honoring ICE detainers, which entails holding individuals for ICE to pick them up. State and local jails can end their Intergovernmental Service Agreements with ICE, which turns local jails into immigration detention centers.

Daniel E. Chand, associate professor of political science at Kent State University and ACLU Ohio board member

More Trump branding

A couple of weeks ago I received a card titled “President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.” Surely our tax dollars are not going to Trump campaign literature in the guise of coronavirus information?

On Wednesday, I heard that stimulus checks from the federal government will also have Trump’s name on them.

Of course, electronic media have allowed Trump to monopolize the airways with ludicrous “informational” broadcasts where he brags on his own performance and attacks his perceived enemies. The only good is that he shows his intellectual limitations and mental instability.

At first I was angered that the president was capitalizing on the pandemic ... but so be it.

Let’s put his name on all the refrigerated trailers and meat packing plants filled with the overflow of dead virus victims. This could add a whole new connotation to Trump Hotels. He often visits his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Why not a Morgue Cargo Resort in New York?

Instead of “China Virus,” he could start calling it the Trump Virus. Talk about branding!

Paul Huff, Cuyahoga Falls