Immigration and Customs Enforcement | Michigan Radio
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET

Top congressional Democrats are calling for a federal investigation after a nurse who worked at an immigration detention center in Georgia filed a whistleblower complaint alleging a lack of medical care and unsafe work practices that facilitated the spread of COVID-19.

She also says that immigrant women received questionable hysterectomies, an allegation that lawmakers seized on in statements issued Tuesday.

stock photo of surgical masks on a table
Macau Photo Agency / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a new initiative called the Mishigamiing Journalism Project has created six month long fellowships for Indigenous journalists at the Traverse City Record Eagle. Plus, a conversation with two Michiganders about dealing with family separation along the Canadian border. And should masks be mandatory throughout the state?

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Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A proposed immigration detention facility in Ionia County will face opposition every step of the way. That’s the message from a group that’s been speaking out against the facility.

The Ionia County Commission had been considering a resolution to support the proposed facility, which could eventually house up to 600 people. But commissioners tabled the resolution after a number of people spoke out against it.

flickr/jobsforfelonshub.com

A federal district judge says an Iraqi man who was being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Calhoun County Jail should not go back into custody there.  

U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy had ordered ICE to release Fawzi Zaya in April because his obesity and diabetes put him at great risk of "irreparable injury" or death from the coronavirus.

He was released despite a history of serious crimes, including a second degree murder charge in 2008, as well as ICE's contention that he is a flight risk. 

rollingroscoe / Morguefile

Two ICE detainees with medical conditions have been freed after a federal district judge ordered the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release them from the Calhoun County Jail.  

In her order releasing the two, U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy said, "COVID-19 does not respect prison walls. The raging global pandemic outside of Calhoun County Correctional Facility and a confirmed case within the facility pose a serious risk to those inside."

picture of a purple folder that says U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Immigrant Centers of America is looking to build a new detention center for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in Michigan. John Truscott, spokesman for ICA, says they haven’t closed on the land, but an agreement is in place.

 

Kurt Scheurer is the supervisor for Ionia Township. He says ICE has been in contact with the township and the city for some time, asking for input on the plans. Ionia County already has a number of prisons, so Scheurer says another detention center would hardly come as a shock to local residents.

 

“Ionia is a prison town anyways," he said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal class action lawsuit aimed at winning the release of immigrants housed at the Calhoun County jail.

The ACLU estimates there are approximately 130 immigrants being held at the jail for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  According to the ACLU, it’s the largest number of ICE detainees at a facility in Michigan.

ICE

Advocates for immigrants lined up in their cars on Friday outside the Monroe County Jail to protest detentions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the pandemic.

There are 31 ICE detainees at the jail, according to ICE.

Rocky Coronado is with Rapid Response Detroit and says immigrants are housed at a dorm-style open room at the jail. 

ICE agents
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The ACLU has filed two federal lawsuits on behalf of immigrants who are medically vulnerable and seeking release from detention.

The lawsuits say the detainees are particularly at risk of contracting COVID-19 and suffering complications if they get sick.

Photo courtesy of the family of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez

The ACLU of Michigan is suing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to get records related to the arrest and detention of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, a Marine combat veteran who faced possible deportation last year.

The ACLU says it filed a Freedom of Information Act request in March to get the records. So far, it says no records have been released.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A veteran Grand Rapids police captain was put on a 20-hour suspension, and will have to go through additional training, after the city’s Civilian Appeal Board found he violated department policy.

Captain Curt VanderKooi is the officer who contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the case of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, a U.S. citizen who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and faced possible deportation based on a tip from VanderKooi.

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

The Kent County Sheriff says federal immigration officials have decided not to renew a contract to hold its detainees at the Kent County jail.

The county stopped complying with so called “detainer requests” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this year.

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

 

 

Today on Stateside, former Michigander Jimmy Aldaoud was deported to Iraq, a country he had never been to, in June. This week, his family says he died after not being able to obtain insulin for his diabetes. We talk to a family friend about what happened. Plus, the challenges of finding inclusive long-term care facilities when you're an LGBT senior.

 

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

Updated August 9, 2019 at 11:45 am

The ACLU of Michigan and the Michigan Immigrant Right Center is sending letters to 11 county sheriffs and police departments across the state, urging them to stop detaining people for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE agents
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A Southeast Michigan man who was deported to Iraq died Tuesday in Baghdad. That's according to friends and family of the 41-year-old.

Jimmy Aldaoud was sent to Iraq in June.

Edward Bajoka is an immigration attorney and a family friend. He says Aldaoud had diabetes and mental health challenges. He also says he didn't speak any Arabic.

“Jimmy had never himself stepped foot on Iraqi soil. His entire family has been in the United States for 40 years. And he knew no one in that country,” Bajoka said.

Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI 9th District) said in a statement:

Ammar Alhaidar

 

“ICE RAIDS STARTED IN DEARBORN,” the social media and Whatsapp messages warned on Monday afternoon. Dearborn residents sent the messages to each other after agents from Homeland Security Investigations visited Hamido, a well-known Middle-Eastern Dearborn restaurant.

The manager, Kassem Rizk, says he wasn’t sure at the time if the agents were from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but he says two officers came in, and one officer asked for employment verification forms.

“He said that he was sweeping the area. He said this was his tenth stop,” Rizk says.

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.

 

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

The national debate over immigration reached another boiling point last week.

protesters carrying signs
File photo / Michigan Radio

As President Trump ramps up his campaign, his deportation policy drew protests in Detroit this week. And a West Michigan congressman who called for impeachment proceedings against the president has faced a protest of his own.

Libertarian columnist Shikha Dalmia joined Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou to talk about those stories, and about Attorney General Dana Nessel's decision to dismiss all criminal charges from the Flint water crisis. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Protesters are back at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Offices in Detroit, trying to stop the potential deportation of more Iraqi nationals.

The U.S. has deported a small number of people back to Iraq after winning a court case on appeal late last year.

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.

Grand Rapids Police cruiser
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Police Department exonerated a controversial captain who called Immigration and Customs Enforcement about a U.S. citizen and Marine combat veteran.

The officer, Captain Curt VanderKooi, was reinstated on Friday after the department opened an internal investigation, which exonerated VanderKooi. 

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A 19-year old Haitian man who came to the U.S. seeking asylum could be deported soon. The U.S. government being slow to act could be part of the reason.

Williams Sejour came to the U.S. when he was 16. He was looking to escape his abusive family. Sejour turned himself into authorities at the U.S. southern border, making him a so-called “arriving alien” rather than an illegal alien.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A West Michigan mother says she hopes Michigan policymakers will intervene to spare her son from deportation.

Marilú Parra-Velázquez says she brought her son Brandon Reyes to the U.S. from Mexico when he was five.

For him, Grand Rapids is home, she says. He’s active in his community and in his church, and she says he’s a good role model for his two younger sisters, who are U.S. citizens.

“Our family, the suffering we feel,” Parra-Velázquez said at a press conference today near Grand Rapids. She spoke in Spanish.

Mis hijas lo extraña mucho.”

Rafael DeJesus
Berenice Albright

After serving more than 25 years in prison, Rafael DeJesus had his sentence commuted by former Governor Rick Snyder last year, but now he faces deportation.

DeJesus came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when he was 15, and at 22, while he was a legal resident, he was sentenced to 60-100 years for cocaine possession with the intent to sell.


Grand Rapids Police Department station
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan has asked a civilian board to review a controversial case involving the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The case is over Jilmar Ramos-Gomez. He’s a U.S. citizen and a war veteran. He was mistakenly detained by immigration authorities last year based on a tip from the GRPD.

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

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.