ICE To Offer “Citizens Academy” Course With Training On How To Arrest Immigrants

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement / Public Domain

Julie Zheng

The six-week course reportedly includes training on “defensive tactics, firearms familiarization and targeted arrests."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appears ready to launch a “Citizens Academy” course that will involve training on how to arrest undocumented immigrants, according to Newsweek.

  • Robert Guadian, ICE Chicago Field Office Director, reportedly stated in a letter published online by The St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) that starting in September, ICE will offer the six-week course.
  • “You have been identified as a valued member of the community who may have interest in participating in the inaugural class of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Chicago Citizens Academy,” the letter stated.
  • Participants would receive “scenario-based” training, including “facets and responsibilities of ICE/ERO operations” and “defensive tactics, firearms familiarization and targeted arrests.”
  • “The goal is to build bridges with the community by offering a day-in-the-life perspective of a federal law enforcement agency,” said Nicole Alberico, ICE spokesperson.

While Guadian's letter did not mention these aspects of the academy's curriculum, the ICE statement said it would "include, but is not limited to, classroom instruction, visiting an immigration detention center, learning more about the health care ICE provides to those in its custody, and examining ICE's role in an immigration case from start to finish."

  • Although Guadian’s letter highlighted a course on immigrant enforcement, Alberico said that “ICE is not training anyone to do immigration enforcement.”

This announcement has raised worries about potential racial profiling and violence.

  • Chicago Congressman Jesús 'Chuy' García worried that this program is “inviting people to become an extension of ICE...to possibly surveil their neighbors who might be undocumented.”
  • Participants might believe that “they are being given a license to profile, surveil and potentially attack community members,” said García.
  • Sara John, the executive director of the IFCLA, said that the program “will train citizens to perpetuate race-based violence and further normalizes hate crimes that already devastate our neighborhoods.”
  • “The misunderstanding, anger and confusion of what the agency does on a daily basis is exactly why the Academy is needed,” said Alberico.

The program is set to be held every Tuesday at ICE’s Chicago Field Office starting from September 15 through October 20. Participants would receive Personal Protective Equipment and follow social distancing measures.

Read the full story here.

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