Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht looks to provide
immigration enforcement training to local authorities.
Latino advocacy group Make the Road Pennsylvania gave a crash course recently to over 100 immigrants, some of whom are undocumented. Individuals from Reading and Allentown learned to exercise their rights when dealing with authorities and practiced using their rights to avoid being deported. They even participated in role-playing sessions with mock ICE agents pretending to serve warrants against them. The training comes amidst heightened anxiety within immigrant communities in response to executive orders signed in January expanding immigration enforcement.
Meanwhile Berks County Sheriff Erik Weaknecht is seeking to expand local law enforcement's role in coordinating with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. His office has applied to the 287(g) program, which would train local officers to assist in ICE apprehensions. This would be a first in the state, since no Pennsylvania police department currently holds a 287(g) agreement with ICE. The ACLU opposes the program, saying it leads to racial profiling and civil rights abuses. Make the Road Pennsylvania has started a petition asking Sheriff Weaknecht to withdraw his application to the program, and Daniel Torres of Centro Hispano has said his group opposes 287(g) noting it fosters "distrust in the community". Centro Hispano has also been educating its clients about their rights when facing immigration officials. Those rights include remaining silent, asking to leave if they are not detained and if they are detained, access to an attorney. Read the full Reading Eagle article here. Learn more about 287(g).