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October 11th, 2019
Reps. Grijalva, García, Gallego, and Davis Pen Letter Demanding Answers from ICE about Militarization of Operations and Construction of ?Urban Warfare’ Training Centers

TUCSON— Today, Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), and Danny K. Davis (IL-07) sent a letter to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Matthew Albence raising deep concerns about reports that the agency is building an “urban warfare” training facility in Fort Benning, Georgia  modeled on neighborhoods in Chicago and Arizona. 

ICE awarded an almost $1 million contract to the company Strategic Operations to build a military-style training facility for ICE agents to “experience combat conditions in a training environment that truly reflects real world conditions.”

A copy of the letter can be found on this link.

“Constructing ‘urban warfare’ training centers to target vulnerable immigrants is emblematic of an agency that lacks any semblance of accountability and sensibility under the Trump Administration’s immigration policies,” said Rep. Grijalva (AZ-03). “This latest decision raises further concern about the increasing militarization of ICE and its impact on our communities. ICE should immediately halt its plan to construct these centers and cease their baseless attacks on immigrant families.”

“For the Trump Administration, cruelty is the entire point when it comes to immigration policy. The growing militarization of ICE is the latest example of this administration’s dangerous escalation when it comes to its assault on immigrant communities. Its only purpose is to demonize immigrants, terrorize communities of color, and cause divide among Americans,” said Rep. Gallego (AZ-07).

“The whole concept for this new training facility is a clear signal of Trump accelerating the militarization of ICE.  It is disturbing and deplorable to try to terrorize our communities at the expense of taxpayers. Building replicas of neighborhoods in Chicago is no accident – it is meant to normalize violence and to desensitize ICE officials as they enter our communities. This is a declaration of war on our neighborhoods and completely against our values as a country that is welcoming of immigrants,” said Rep. García (IL-04).

“The growing militarization of ICE is an ominous and dangerous escalation of the racist rhetorical assault on immigrant communities and normalization of the policies of family separation which have characterized federal policy over the past few years.  It is not about law enforcement, it is not about justice, it is not about national security, it is not consistent with our values as a nation, nor our standing in the international community.  The deployment of military style weapons and tactics on our streets will solve no legal, social or economic challenges but the human cost will be immense if left unchecked,” said Rep. Davis (IL-07).


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