I am writing out of continued concern regarding McHenry County’s participation in ICE detention. The McHenry County Board plans to hold a vote to continue or cancel the ICE contract on May 18 in less than one month.
The practice of ICE detention has been found to be fraught with human rights violations. McHenry County is part of a contract without offering any transparency of gains to the public. The county would be liable for what happens to these detainees, even if it is through the ICE program. Lawsuits for any unlawful detention could have high costs to the county and town. The contract also forces our local police to dedicate time and resources to ICE’s work and the cost is unknown.
Mass deportations have been found not to promote public safety, but to destroy families and destabilize communities. Local cooperation with ICE decreases trust in law enforcement and as a result decreases public safety. With ICE practices, our most basic democratic principles are being ignored based on immigration status alone.
Most disturbing is the toll on the children who live, were born, or mostly raised here. We are losing them through the foster care system, and they become dependent on state and county resources. They experience severe trauma of losing their parents at a moment’s notice and often require mental, physical, and financial support.
Immigrants are deeply rooted in American families and communities. According to the agency’s own data, DHS has deported more people in the last decade than in the previous century. The result is millions of families being torn apart and massive human suffering.
When a child loses a parent to deportation, the child, family, and society all suffer. Cooperation with ICE has been seen to actually decrease public safety by further eroding community trust in law enforcement.