An update on the arbitrary Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) raids within the refugee community in Atlanta. The persecution of Somali refugees at the hands of the executive branch of the U.S. federal government has now been covered by WABE news and by WABE’s Closer Look. Both stories interview our partner Omar Shekhey with the Somali American Community Center.

In our meeting with the Somali Community this past week we determined the following were the primary concerns/outcomes of ICE’s recent actions (not in order):

  1. Inhumane/illegal deportation to Somalia. Somalia is barely functioning, is very dangerous and is in the midst of a terrible famine. This country is not suited for additional entrants of any status.
  2. Breaking apart families. Especially egregious is some of those taken are the primary source of employment income for the household.
  3. Heavy handed tactics used in picking up each person in the community. Do we want to live in a country where federal officers can snatch people off of sidewalks and they are never seen again?
  4. Intentionally spreading fear in the community – Somalis (and others) are now afraid to leave their house, go to work, school etc….
  5. Effect on public safety and civil society. Immigrant/refugee communities less likely to report crimes, engage with police or government.

We will continue keeping you updated on this story as it evolves and also provide the contact information and guidelines on how to raise our collective voice against these atrocities. Please see here and here for previous guidance on contacting Senators Perdue and Isakson and here for your Congressman.

Today please take a moment this morning to contact the Atlanta Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Office Director Sean Gallagher.

Please send an email to Atlanta.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov with the subject line “Raids in Georgia”:

Field Office Director Gallagher,

I am deeply disturbed and appalled at the recent actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in our state. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is terrorizing our refugee and immigrant community and splitting up families through its arbitrary raids and deportations.

Please stop targeting and deporting our Somali neighbors.

Thank You,

Your Name

(Remember to change Your Name to your name.)

Additionally if you have the patience you can try to contact Director Gallagher through the ICE Atlanta Field Office at 404 893 1210. Call, and if you can get through to a person (try pressing “3”), ask to speak to Director Gallagher and use the points in the email above in your conversation. If you get through and are able to obtain a direct line or an extension please let us know and we will post it for others to use.

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