Cincinnati councilman unveils network to protect immigrants from ICE raids

Cincinnati councilman unveils network to protect immigrants from ICE raids
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Cincinnati is expected to form a network aimed at helping immigrants and refugees who may be the target of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld announced the proposed Rapid Response Network at a Thursday press conference. 

The councilman filed a motion last week, signed by five other council members, to form the network, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Sittenfeld said he expects the measure to pass the first week of August.

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The network is meant to help immigrants with legal responses to potential raids and provide assistance for families affected by detentions, among other provisions. 

"If you pay your taxes, if you are raising your family here, if you are adding to the diversity of our neighborhoods — and all of our immigrant and refugee families are doing this — you’re absolutely a member of our community," Sittenfeld said at Thursday's announcement, according to the local outlet.

The network will be led by the local nonprofit Immigration and Refugee Law Center.

Julie LeMaster, the nonprofit's executive director, told the paper that although Cincinnati has not been named as a specific target of the Trump administration's ICE raids, detentions have been increasing in the area for years and expects more to come.

"The city is looking for ways to help the [immigrant and refugee] community in the light of the current situation in the country," LeMaster told the paper. "There are groups in the Cincinnati area that have been doing great work in various aspects of it but there really hasn’t been a coordinated community-wide response network until now."

ICE Director Matthew Albence on Tuesday said that 35 people were taken in a recent series of raids President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE announced. Albence told reporters "this is just the beginning of the operation."

According to the motion obtained by the Enquirer, the Rapid Response Network's goal is to protect immigrant families and refugee families in Cincinnati from "draconian actions taken by the Federal Administration."