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United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Nationwide raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrants have been scheduled to begin this Sunday, according to a report from The New York Times.

 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A senior Grand Rapids police officer could face disciplinary action over the case of a U.S. citizen who was detained by immigration authorities last year.

Captain Curt VanderKooi was originally cleared by an internal affairs investigation by the GRPD. The department’s investigation said VanderKooi was justified in contacting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because he had concerns the original arrest could be related to a terrorist plot.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force

Local law enforcement would be required to cooperate with federal immigration officers, under a pair of bills that moved forward in Lansing Tuesday.

A number of people spoke out against the bills at a hearing of the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee. 

One of them was Maria Salazar. She told lawmakers if the bill becomes law, she’s afraid it will lead to more racial profiling and discrimination by police.

“I’m a U.S. citizen but I am afraid of them,” she told the lawmakers. “My kids are US citizens and they are afraid of the police officers.”

Grand Rapids Police Department station
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids police department has placed one of its senior commanders on administrative leave.

The city says it’s reviewing the actions of GRPD captain Curt VanderKooi in a case that led to a U.S. citizen being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A Grand Rapids City Commission meeting had to end early last night, after protestors disrupted the meeting.

The protestors, organized by Movimiento Cosecha GR, called on the city to end all police cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

“ICE and cops go hand in hand,” dozens of protestors shouted, while standing in front of commission members.

photo courtesy of the family of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez


courtesy Movimiento Cosecha GR

A well-known immigration activist in West Michigan says he’s trying to stay optimistic after being arrested this week to face possible deportation.

Brandon Reyes is currently in the Calhoun County Correction Facility, which has an agreement to hold immigration detainees. Reyes grew up in Grand Rapids and is part of the “Dreamer” generation of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. He was enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was created to protect young immigrants from deportation.

photo courtesy of the family of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department is changing its policy on cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

photo courtesy of the family of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez is a U.S. citizen. Born in Grand Rapids. He served in the Marines and saw combat in Afghanistan.

And last month federal immigration authorities took him into custody to face possible deportation.

Attorneys and immigration advocates in West Michigan are now demanding to know why, and how, this happened.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A lot of old cop movies have a scene like this one, in Die Hard -- where the feds show up and start bossing local police around.

Out in the real world, things are more complicated. Federal law enforcement can’t always just boss local law enforcement around. And that’s a key part of a big controversy happening right now in Kent County.

The controversy is about immigration enforcement.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the federal government from deporting more than 200 Iraqi nationals arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in June. It could also apply to another 1,200 Iraqis who have final removal orders nationwide.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued the ruling Monday, before a stay he issued earlier this month was set to expire. The new ruling will stave off deportations for three months while the legal challenge makes its way through the courts.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force

In official statements, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the people it arrests are criminals who pose a threat to the safety of our local communities.

But when the public asks for more details on those arrests – who has been targeted and why – answers are hard to come by.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Lafayette Street between Shelby and Washington Boulevard in downtown Detroit was flooded with people supporting several Iraqi-American immigrants facing possible deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrested these immigrants in metro-Detroit more than a week ago.

Most have criminal records, but have already served time or paid their fines.

Carrie Heichle is the wife of one of the men arrested during the ICE sweeps.

She says her two sons are having a hard time without their dad.

Kevin Kellon, right, with his grandson and the family's lawyer Nabih Ayad.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A federal agent had “no justifiable excuse or reason to shoot 20-year-old Terrance Kellom” at his father’s Detroit home in April 2015.

That’s what Kellom’s family said in a civil wrongful death lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday.

The suit names Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer Mitchell Quinn, and two Detroit police officers as defendants. Quinn is the officer who shot and killed Terrance Kellom.

The officers say Kellom dropped through a hole in the ceiling, and advanced on them with a hammer.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Ypsilanti Mayor Amanda Edmonds is denouncing recent arrests made by immigration agents in the city.

She says residents witnessed at least two people being arrested by ICE this week. Mlive reports four people were detained.

www.retreat-lc.com

Michigan is part of a big national crackdown on illegal synthetic drug trafficking.

This week, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies arrested more than 150 people in more than two dozen states on charges they imported and sold illegal synthetic drugs. More than 20 of those arrests took place in southeast Michigan.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Advocates for a Detroit woman held a rally today urging the federal government to scrap its plans to deport her to Mexico this week. Hours after the demonstration, immigration officials announced they would stop Leslie Hernandez’s deportation and release her.

Hernandez is – by her family’s account – exactly the kind of immigrant for whom the Obama administration says deportations should be halted.

Hernandez came to the U.S. as a child and has lived here longer than she ever lived in Mexico. She has a clean record, and three young children.

"She’s not a criminal, and it wasn’t her fault that she was brought the United States when she was a minor," said Hernandez’s sister-in-law, Cecelia Manquera.

President Obama wants immigration agents to focus enforcement efforts on removing immigrants convicted of crimes.

A spokesman for the Detroit immigration enforcement office says Hernandez will be released under federal supervision.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Activists and families packed a school lunchroom in southwest Detroit to vent their frustrations with immigration and border enforcement in that part of the city.

U.S. Representatives John Conyers and Hansen Clarke convened the forum in the wake of complaints about immigration enforcement near schools.

That’s prohibited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy. And Conyers says the head of ICE, John Morton, has expressed his commitment to making sure it’s enforced:

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A standing-room-only crowd packed a union hall in Dearborn tonight for a rally to protest what they call harassment by immigration officials. Hundreds of people poured into UAW Local 600 to hear activists and politicians discuss allegations of wrongdoing by Immigration and Customs Enforcement – or ICE – agents.

Complaints include warrantless searches, racial profiling and enforcement actions near schools and churches.

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Advocates for immigrants are stepping up the pressure on the Detroit office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – or ICE – to respond to allegations of harassment.

Late last month, Ruben Torres was driving home from work when he was stopped by an agent in an unmarked vehicle on the Lodge Freeway. He says he was not shown a warrant or given a reason for the stop. He says he was asked to show a visa and birth certificate.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Advocates for undocumented immigrants say the Detroit office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement – or ICE – is “out of control.” They say agents are ignoring the agency’s own guidelines prohibiting enforcement near schools and churches.

Ali Abdel is the principal at Hope of Detroit Academy. He says ICE agents surrounded the school last week, terrifying parents and students:

"The school was like a ghost town. People were coming to get their students out of school, they were scared.... They were calling, flooding our lines – is ICE in the building? Are they around the corner? And this is no way for children to learn."

Jose Luis is one of several parents who hid inside the school last week as immigration agents waited outside. Luis says agents in three SUVs appeared to follow him as he dropped his kids off for school:

"ICE should be following people who they have warrants for. But that’s not what they’re doing, they’re following everybody."

The Alliance for Immigrants’ Rights has a series of demands. They include identifying who authorized the enforcement action at the school, and disciplining those responsible.

Sami / Flickr

Say 'goodbye' to Spring. For now, at least. After unseasonably warm temperatures last week, winter weather has returned. As the Associated Press reports:

A winter storm that blew through the upper Midwest over the long Presidents Day weekend has dumped a hand bag of snow, sleet and ice on Michigan, canceling flights, closing schools and making driving treacherous for early morning commuters.

The National Weather service in White Lake Township says by Monday morning six to 10 inches of snow fell on southern Michigan since the storm began Sunday afternoon.

Officials were urging people to stay off the roads if possible, rather than risk driving on icy roads or through wind-driven snow.

Hundreds of flights were canceled at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. AAA Michigan spokeswoman Nancy Cain tells The Detroit News that by early Sunday evening, about 1,900 requests for assistance in spinouts and minor accidents had been taken.

Kalamazoo Public Schools and Flint Public Schools are closed today. The U-M Dearborn campus is closed as well.

Sami / Flickr

Forecasters are predicting a big winter storm is on its way. It's forecasted that the storm could leave up to a foot of snow on the ground across much of the southern part of the state by Wednesday morning. As the Associated Press reports:

Meteorologist Brian Meade with the National Weather Service's Grand Rapids office says the storm is expected to include "considerable blowing and drifting snow" in the southern and central parts of the state.

Snow is expected to begin piling up Tuesday and continue overnight through Wednesday morning.