Who Are We?The Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR) is an ever-expanding organization of morally conscious people, who are members of numerous community groups and faith-based organizations. We are diverse in race and ethnicity, national origin, language, gender, age, abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and socio economic class status, and immigration status. We work together in coalition because we understand that the oppression of one group of people endorses the oppression of any group of people, at anytime.
Our immigrant population in Washtenaw County is currently being repeatedly raided by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and by local police and law enforcement departments. We believe these raids and detainments are morally unjust and a clear violations of human rights. We are deeply disturbed by these atrocities happening in our community and will respond publicly and passionately. We are motivated to action by the God-given rights of all people to live in a safe and just society regardless of documentation.
What Do We Know?
- Since March of 2008, we know of 261 instances of raids, primarily targeted against the Latino community, affecting hundreds of individuals and families. Seven children have been placed in foster care, and at least a third of the cases involve children being separated from their parents.
- Raids have primarily taken place in people’s private residences at all hours of the day and night, often in the wee hours of the morning. They have also included racial profiling in automobiles and detaining drivers who do not show evidence of documentation. While most raids have targeted the Latino community, they have included nationals from other countries. Raids have been assisted by local police departments from Pittsfield Township, Ann Arbor City, the Washtenaw County Sheriff Dept. and the Michigan State Police. Some raids have targeted local businesses.
We have first-hand reports that ICE officials and other police have unlawfully and aggressively entered private residences without legal warrants, tricked residents into opening their doors, used violence and threats in detaining people including beating them down to the ground, hand-cuffing and pointing guns at them, terrorized young children by attacking their parents in front of them, separated families, yelled at and verbally abused people, stolen identification, ransacked and damaged peoples' property, and used excessive intimidation. In one instance we witnessed the blood left on the floor after a detainment. Not all raids include this level of overt brutality. Once detained, immigrants are transferred rapidly and frequently, cannot be found or contacted; are denied rights to clean clothing, money, healthcare, or access to legal assistance.
What Are We Doing?We have formed four action groups in response to these raids:
- A rapid and urgent response team provides safety, advocacy, counseling and resources to raid victims and those who are threatened;
- A political action team works toward fair immigration policy locally and nationally;
- A legal team provides assistance, advocacy and education;
- A community education team provides Know Your Rights presentations with the targeted community and education on immigration issues to potential allies
What Do We Want?We want the cities and townships of Washtenaw County to:
- Cease any cooperation with ICE of the city police department in family home and work- place intrusions. Cease reporting people to immigration when there is no criminal violation. Stop all racial profiling of immigrants. Stop brutality toward detainees. Cease detainment of immigrants in the absence of proper warrants.
- In Ann Arbor, enforce the resolutions of June, 2010: A RESOLUTION URGING REPEAL OF ARIZONA SENATE BILL 1070, "SUPPORT OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS" ACT, and 2003: THE RESOLUTION TO PROTEST THE ERODING OF CIVIL LIBERTIES UNDER THE USA PATRIOT ACT (Public law 107-56)
- Lead in the development of Safe City/County ordinances to protect the rights of immigrants regardless of documentation, and support Sanctuary Congregations to provide refuge and protection to immigrant families.
- Reject immigration policies locally and federally that stress enforcement and that are based in fear and reaction to terrorism and work toward real national immigration reform.
- Support efforts that require President Obama to exercise his presidential discretion and powers to call a moratorium on the raids of innocent immigrant and force ICE to adhere to their priorities of removing “serious criminals” only.Φ Φ Φ
Ypsilanti First Congregational United Church of Christ
Ann Arbor Friends Quaker Meeting
Washtenaw County Worker’s Center
First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor
Latinos Unidos of Michigan
American Friends Service Committee
Episcopal Church of the Incarnation*
Washtenaw Faith Action Network
St. Mary's Catholic Student Parish
First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor St.
Francis Catholic Church of Ann Arbor
Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development, Inc.
Pineview Church of Ypsilanti
University of Michigan School of Social Work
University of Michigan Law School
U of M Latin Social Work Coalition
Amnesty International – EMU,
MIRA - U of M,
American Citizens for Justice
*Those organizations that have taken action to officially endorse the Coalition
Please Donate—Make checks payable to:
Ypsilanti First Congregational United Church of Christ Immigration Project
Send to: PO Box 980413, Ypsilanti, MI, 48198
(all funds go entirely to help immigrant families)
Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR) is a mission project of the First Congregational Church United Church of Christ, Ypsilanti. For more information please go to our web site here.