Three Illinois US representatives joined in attacking a federal initiative, Citizens Academy, related to immigration. They charged the initiative with being a vigilante program that would turn Chicago and other cities of Illinois into a “police state.” These three representatives are Mike Quigley of Chicago, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia of Chicago, and Jan Schakowsky of Evanston.
The Citizens Academy program is set to launch in Chicago in September under the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in the Department of Homeland Security. According to the news release, the program aims to train citizens to arrest and detain undocumented immigrants. The six-week pilot program is set to launch in Chicago.
The US representatives charged the program that it would increase fear and discrimination against immigrant communities in the state. They alleged the program of increasing violence and racial profiling. Quigley said in a statement, “The United States is not a police state where ordinary men and women are deputized to carry out immigration enforcement.”
Quigley added that the program would train Americans to suspect their friends. Quigley believed that immigrants made their city great. He added, “ICE’s targeting our city for this pilot program is an affront to our values and I, for one, will not let it stand.” An amendment has been passed on Wednesday that denied funding for the program in the fiscal year 2021.
US Rep. Garcia also criticized the program earlier this week. She called the program a “boondoggle.” Garcia and Schakowsky sent a formal complaint letter to the House Appropriations Committee related to the program. They wrote in the letter that the program should not be funded. Schakowsky said in a statement, “We are a country of immigrants, and throughout Illinois and the Chicagoland area we have a diverse population and welcoming communities that are open to it.”