Citizens in Riverside may be aware that the city itself is a fairly safe space for immigrants. However, the escalating battle for an easier path to citizenship has lead to the stigmatization of many immigrants and new detainment centers may contribute to this stigma.
In a protest that was reportedly 5,000 people strong, the community of Los Angeles is standing up against the potential of a new immigration detention center in their area. Some believe that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility could actually allow immigrants to live in safety due to the fact that it would keep them away from burglars and felons that go after immigrants due to the fact that they often won’t contact the police.
Despite the fact that the ICE facility has already obtained a permit, many still believe that it would be an unwise idea to allow it to be built due to the fact that racist sentiment and resentment among the citizens could be fostered toward the immigrant community. There is also a concern that more deportations will occur. It was reported that ICE was responsible for 369,000 deportations in the last year. Despite the fact that they have promised they would not be doing any crackdowns and the fact that the facility is reportedly only for 12 hour holdings, the outcry against it is still strong.
For those who are currently facing immigration related issues and the potential of deportation, or for those who have been taken to a detainment center, it may be to your benefit to contact an attorney.
Source: Santa Barbara Independent, “Thousands Protest Santa Maria ICE Center,” Lyz Hoffman, Feb. 13, 2014