CLEVELAND– The ACLU of Ohio, CAIR-Ohio, Catholic Charities, Dioceses of Cleveland, International Institute of Akron, Ohio Hispanic Coalition, and Ohio Immigrant Alliance sent letters to county commissioners and sheriffs in Butler, Geauga, Morrow, and Seneca urging the implementation of four recommendations to protect public health and safety for immigrant populations jailed in local facilities. These four counties have contracts with ICE to detain immigrants, and the organizations contend that this partnership perpetuates a fear of immigration enforcement within communities, which can discourage immigrants and their family members from seeking necessary medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Cities and counties that collaborate with ICE by sharing information, participating in arrest operations, and holding individuals in jail in order to investigate their immigration status are placing their communities at greater risk for deadly consequences during the COVID-19 public health crisis. This partnership threatens our collective safety as Ohioans,” added Jocelyn Rosnick, Policy Director for the ACLU of Ohio.

Specifically, the immigration advocates urge county officials to:

  • Immediately suspend ICE collaboration (including contracts with ICE for civil immigration detention or partnerships that involve sharing information, investigation, arresting or delaying the release of individuals based on suspected immigration status);
  • Cease the practice of holding individuals on immigration detainers and/or ICE warrants;
  • Depopulate to mitigate risks, and release all detainees within the County-level jurisdiction;
  • Publicly announce steps to implement these recommendations to build trust and confidence in immigrant communities.

“Immigration detention should not be a death sentence. We urge county officials in Butler, Geauga, Morrow, and Seneca Counties to immediately adopt and implement our recommendations to save lives.”

A copy of the letter is available.