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Victory for campaign against ICE holds in Tampa, FL

By staff |
September 11, 2014
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Tampa, FL - After months of attempting to meet and speak with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Raíces en Tampa decided to organize two actions demanding the sheriffs "Stop ICE Holds" of immigrants. Only two days after Raíces en Tampa called for action, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office quietly changed their policy. According to their letters to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security, the County Sherriff’s Office will only detain immigrants if there is a judge’s order.

Detaining undocumented immigrants by local police has been a form of targeting, criminalizing and eventually deporting undocumented immigrants, primarily people from Central America and Mexico. Police all over the country can use ICE Detainer Form I-247 (I-247) when conducting exchanges of undocumented immigrants with ICE. Under I-247, local police are never to hold an undocumented immigrant for more than 48 hours. But as we know with the recent Oregon case, Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County, the 48-hour rule is rarely honored.

"I had to bail out a friend who is undocumented from jail," said Oscar Hernandez of Raíces en Tampa. "This friend was locked up over the weekend, which violated the 48-hour limit. Raíces en Tampa will continue fighting against deportations and this victory is only the beginning!"

ICE detainers have been a way for the local police to work as an extension of ICE to deport the undocumented. Every day, over 1000 undocumented immigrants are deported and there is no sign of an end to these massive deportations. Hillsborough County, home to many undocumented immigrants, is the third county in Florida to pass this policy change, which is a victory for the people. All over the U.S., the people are rising up to say, "¡Ya basta!" [Enough!].

"Today we are victorious, tomorrow we continue fighting against the growing deportations and against the attacks on immigrant families and communities," said Norberto Gazga of Raíces en Tampa. Along with their campaign to fight against deportations, Raíces en Tampa has been pushing since 2013 for immigrants to be allowed to test and obtain a Florida driver's license. To sign their petition go here: http://raicesentampa.wordpress.com/sign-the-dl4all-petition/

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