Governor Whitmer, halt ICE raids and release Detainees in Michigan

Governor Whitmer, halt ICE raids and release Detainees in Michigan

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Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights started this petition to Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Dear Governor Whitmer,

We are writing to you as advocates for people who are currently detained and at risk of detention by ICE in Michigan.  We are joining legislators and advocates throughout the country to request a moratorium on any ICE raids* and operations related to raids in Michigan, especially in medical facilities and places that are high traffic/residential areas due to COVID-19.

Additionally, we want to advocate that Michigan release current detainees to be with family members/friends in Michigan, and divert resources that would go to maintaining detention centers to fortify ourselves against the consequences of COVID-19. Detention centers are notorious for having poor sanitary conditions and layouts that do not allow for safe physical distancing. Many immigrants have died already due to lack of proper health care. These conditions make the spread of infectious disease difficult to control, and the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading through a detention center high.  In the interest of public safety, immigrants should be allowed to return to family members and friends, as to remove them from harm and also unburden the state from having to take care of them.  These individuals pose no threat to our communities and Michigan taxpayer money used to keep them in detention would be better spent elsewhere. 

By releasing individuals from detention, we free up resources and money to put toward preventing COVID-19 from spreading, providing resources for Michigan families (especially for lower-income children who are not in school), and more generally building up the state/constituency against the backlash of this virus. Furthermore, this action would protect the health of those who work at detention centers throughout the state and slow the spread of infection. There has already been a case of coronavirus in a detention center in New Jersey.  If changes are not made, more can be expected.

We were elated to hear that the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) stated that Master Calendar Hearings for detained immigrants would continue and that detained immigrants will still have individual hearings as necessary. However, we were deeply upset to see reports of ICE still engaging in raids and arresting people during this time of crisis. The most recent one we heard of was only on March 12th, which was after the danger of COVID-19 to our communities was already abundantly clear. It is upsetting to us namely because we are facing an urgent threat, yet resources are being put toward operations that are both unnecessary and will increase the spread of COVID-19 and endanger more people. This was painfully exemplified by ICE’s recent request for 45,000 N95 surgical masks at a time when medical professionals are unable to get them.  We hope that you can see that these raids are reckless and even insulting to those who are working tirelessly to preserve lives (even with a shortage of resources) and are depending on all of us to uphold the principle of social distancing so that they have a fighting chance. 

We want to encourage you to stand up for what is right. We urge you to push for a moratorium on ICE and closures on detention centers with the release of detainees into family and friend custody.  This is what this state needs right now, and is the right thing to do. While this may be difficult, many others, ourselves included, are ready to do what is necessary to uphold the common good.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope that our words have strengthened your resolve, and we look forward to your leadership in the coming weeks. 


More information:

Edit: 3/27/2020

We have heard numerous reports online that ICE has halted raids unless it pertains to "public safety risks" found here,

This seems to be confirmed with the quote from the official ICE website below:

"ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public-safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or user alternatives to detention, as appropriate"

We are elated at this action and hope that the government continues to focus on the real issues of COVID-19, and not detaining immigrant communities.  For integrity's sake, for now we will keep this part of the petition on with this edit/update. 

The list of confirmed cases in detention/custody can also be found via the ICE website.


To Provide Immediate Financial Support to Immigrants & their Families:

"WICIR Supporting Undocumented Families"

"Support SE Michigan Undocumented Families:

Movimiento Cosecha's fundraiser for aid for Undocumented Families:

The African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs (ABISA) is also holding a fundraiser specific for African immigrants. 

Here is the link to the fundraiser on Facebook:

Or, you can search "Fatou-Seydi's fundraiser for ABISA"



WICIR (Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights):

This organization provides an immigration hotline for immigration-related emergencies and promotes the well-being of immigrants through advocacy.

The website is

For immigration-related emergencies in Washtenaw County, Michigan, call 734-355-2707.

Para emergencias relacionadas a inmigración en Washtenaw County, llame al 734-355-2707.


Legislators & Advocates asking for a moratorium:

COVID-19 in detention centers:

ICE employee testing positive for COVID-19:

ICE engaging in raids:

ICE request for masks when medical professionals need them:

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!