Rep. García Statement on ICE’s Postponement of Controversial “Citizen Academies”

September 4, 2020
Press Release

Chicago, IL - Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) issued the following statement after notice that the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) has postponed the launch of its controversial “Citizens Academy'' in Chicago:

“From the moment I learned about the proposal for this ‘Citizens Academy’ in July, it was clear this was nothing but a taxpayer-funded PR attempt to clean up the image of an agency that has played a central role in Trump’s inhumane immigration policies,” said Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García. “The power of organizing that local and national advocacy organizations demonstrated by protesting against this effort, and the swift action of my colleagues in Congress resulted in increased attention to a program that would otherwise have gone unchecked.  Postponing the launch of the “Citizens Academy” is not enough. It needs to be shut down for good. Instead of investing in programs that could lead to increased violence and racial profiling, the Trump Administration needs to resolve the immigration case backlogs and finally comply with processing new DACA applications so that our immigrant families can live with peace of mind and protection.”

When the Chicago “Citizen Academy” was first announced in July, Representatives Garcia and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), joined by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee Chairs requesting their support prohibiting the use of funds to establish or continue the operation of citizen academies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), specifically the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office and the newly announced pilot for an ICE citizens academy for the Enforcement and Removals Office (ERO). Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, successfully included an amendment to prohibit funding for this program in the Fiscal Year 2021 Homeland Security funding bill.