Reader: OPD notifying ICE doing harm

Published 11:13 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Last week the fabric of our community was torn and a family was harmed by actions of the Oxford Police Department cooperating with federal immigration enforcement authorities.

A long-time, hard-working member of our community was stopped by local police purportedly because a light on his car was the “wrong” color. Unfortunately, he was brought to the U.S. as a child and had not established legal residency though he has been a contributing member of our community for years.

He is as far from Trump’s stereotype of murderous immigrants as one can get — a family man, gainfully employed for years, and contributing to our community.

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Because of the actions of the Oxford Police Department, he is now detained in Louisiana and threatened with deportation. These actions terrorize members of our community and have the necessary consequence of making our community less safe.

Please join me in demanding that the Oxford Police Department and the Lafayette County Sheriff cease this cooperation — which is not required by federal law — with federal immigration authorities. Police do not have to turn someone over to immigration authorities unless a judicial arrest warrant has been issued. Federal courts all over the country have ruled that it is perfectly legal for local jails to decline to hand over an individual to immigration authorities without a warrant.  In fact, it is an unlawful arrest and violation of the Fourth Amendment to continue to hold someone beyond the time they would otherwise be released.

These actions by the Oxford Police Department do not reflect the values of this community.  Please add your voice to those who oppose this destruction of our Oxford community.

Barbara Y. Phillips