Rally Protests Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws

By Katie Colaneri, WBGO News
Newark. June 13, 2013

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Carlos DaSilva, of Millburn, speaks at an immigration rights rally outside ICE's Newark Field Office.

As Congress battles over immigration reform in Washington, an immigrant rights group in New Jersey is working to stop local police from enforcing existing immigration laws.

Carlos DaSilva was among two dozen protestors who rallied in a downpour outside the Newark office of the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. His friend was pulled over by police for having a ladder on the roof of his car. DaSilva says they asked for his friend’s documents. He didn’t have any.

“And the police say, I do my job, I have to take you to the police station," DaSilva says. "And after that, they finally they sent him to the ICE.”

Chia-Chia Wang of the American Friends Service Committee believes there’s federal pressure on local police to check for immigration status as part of a national crackdown.

But she says that's not their job, and police officials she's talked to agree. “Their job is to protect communities and combat crimes."

Wang says her group is encouraging local officials in Newark and Jersey City to pass laws that resist ICE’s reach into local communities.

This article has been updated to reflect the following correction: the immigrant rights group is the American Friends Service Committee, not Commission.


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