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I strongly support the position advocated by Keeping Flagstaff Together that the Coconino Sheriff cease complying with ICE detainers. I doubt many Flagstaffians are even aware that the County Sheriff’s office whose head we elect (currently Sheriff Jim Driscoll) has been carrying out this ugly practice for a decade.

Why is it ugly? First and foremost in my book, it is part of a decades-long process in the United States in which community members who are present without proper papers (long a civil offense) have been increasingly criminalized and had their constitutionally protected rights violated. For anyone who knows the history of the rise of mid-20th century fascism, attacks of these kinds on the most vulnerable are ominous. They must be stopped.

In this particular case, we are talking about local police enforcement complying with a piece of paper (the ICE detainer) that has no legal meaning. Compliance means using local resources to hold individuals for up to an additional 48 hours in jail even though legally they should have been released because the basis for having been detained has ended. The 4th Amendment protects against this kind of unreasonable seizure.

Like nearly all communities across the United States, Flagstaff tolerates the intolerable: the reality that undocumented immigrants upon whose cheap labor the local tourist economy depends live in constant fear - of stolen wages, of subminimum wages, of unfair job loss, and of deportation. Let’s stand together and demand elected officials cease complying with unconstitutional deportation processes.

KIM CURTIS

Flagstaff

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