ICE Raids in WNC Hurt Our Communities

April 18, 2018

ICE Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

As most of you know, over the last several days there have been ICE raids targeting the Spanish speaking communities in Buncombe, Henderson, and McDowell Counties. As of now, WLOS and the Citizen-Times report that 17 people have been detained. Sadly, that number is expected to rise. Our patients and interpreters tell us that people have been targeted when leaving places of worship, dropping their children off at the bus stop for school, arriving at medical clinics, and leaving the grocery store. Patients aIso say that there have been ICE raids in residential neighborhoods that are heavily Latinx. Patients and news reports indicate that the people targeted are not those with criminal records, but anyone who can’t immediately produce documents proving their status in the United States. Many of the ICE agents in these recent raids are undercover and in unmarked cars with license plates from neighboring states. Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to be detained in this manner, simply based on how you look.

WCMS stands with the immigrants in our area. These raids are hurting our community, especially Latinx members of our community. We are proud to have several immigrants on staff. The vast majority of us are descended from immigrants. WIN interpreters are primarily immigrants. WIN takes great pride in helping the medical community provide top quality care to immigrants and the Deaf. We thank the people at Nuestro Centro and Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA) for their work publicizing this to the larger community, constantly updating the community of ICE raids, and supporting affected families.

WCMS is deeply saddened by these raids, especially allegations of ICE agents in the parking lots of medical clinics. We want everyone to feel safe accessing care, regardless of immigration/citizenship status. When everyone feels safe accessing care, our entire community is healthier. To protect patients and their families while they are in your practice, you can put a sign on your door saying that your practice is a private area open only to patients and those accompanying patients. If ICE ever shows up to your building, you don’t have to let them in unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. You can ask them to wait outside for senior management and an attorney.

The Constitution, the Bill of Rights and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to everyone in the United States, whether they are citizens, tourist visa holders, green card holders, DACA recipients, immigrants with refugee status, or undocumented immigrants. To quote the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “The fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every person, regardless of immigration status.”

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