Congressman García: ICE is Declaring War on Our Neighborhoods

September 23, 2019
Press Release
Agency Awards Contract to Build “Urban Warfare” Training Facility with Replica of Chicago

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García issued the following statement addressing reports that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is building an “urban warfare” training facility for its agents at Fort Benning, a U.S. Army post that prepares soldiers for combat. The agency has awarded a contract worth almost $1 million to the company Strategic Operations to build “hyper-realistic” replicas of neighborhoods in Chicago and Arizona. On its website, Strategic Operations states it specializes in creating “realistic battlefield effects.”

“I am shocked and outraged by recent reports detailing ICE’s plans to construct  an ‘urban warfare’ training facility on a military base, to provide hyper-realistic simulations of Chicago neighborhoods. This decision is a clear indication that ICE, under the direction of President Donald Trump, is declaring war on our neighborhoods. 

“Strategic Operations, the company ICE selected to carry out this disturbing plan, describes their services as ‘Training services in the field of urban warfare … including weapons special effects, namely, rocket-propelled grenades, mines, improvised devices … to simulate the fog of war.” These descriptions are troublesome and truly sinister. This program shows the extent of the militarization of ICE agents.

“Trump is putting the communities I represent in the crosshairs of an increasingly militarized ICE. His decision to wage urban warfare on our communities only tears apart families. The Trump Administration is going to outrageous lengths to demonize immigrants and falsely portray them as a threat to national security. An attack on one community, including immigrants, is an attack on us all.

“ICE must provide a clear explanation of this heinous, irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars to send military-trained ICE agents into the homes and businesses of our neighbors and fellow Chicagoans. We must stand united against efforts to terrorize our communities and prevent the further militarization of ICE.”