The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is attempting to rebrand itself, but the PR campaign is being met with skepticism in Chicago. The Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights called the plan a "desperate response by a rogue agency that is destroying thousands of families a week to fix its image among immigrants" and said it amounted to nothing more than "trying to put lipstick on a very ugly pig."
The Chicago Tribune reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security -- which oversees ICE -- will unveil its "Community Outreach Program" in Chicago on Monday. The idea is to show communities that it is about more than just border patrol and enforcement.
But the program comes as immigrant advocates are fighting ICE's Secure Communities program, which is accused of overreaching into reluctant counties and using questionable tactics. The program was created to catch and deport dangerous criminals, but ICIRR found that 77 percent of all immigrants arrested through July of last year in the participating counties in Illinois had no past criminal convictions.
ICE has a long way to go before it can rebrand itself. In a press release responding to the Community Outreach Program, ICIRR said, "We urge the Department of Homeland Security to improve its relations with immigrant communities by obeying the wishes of President Obama and focusing its efforts on deporting immigrants who are an actual danger to our communities, rather than grandmothers, parents, and spouses who are only here to contribute with their hard work."