Sheller Center Creates Model Policies Toolkit for Communities Fighting Against Federal Immigration Enforcement

February 25, 2021The Sheller Center, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC), releases Dismantling ICE in Pennsylvania: Toolkit of Model Policies for Advocates & Communities Seeking to End Local Collaboration with Federal Immigration Officials. This toolkit aims to support community-based, immigrant-led movements that are fighting to end local government collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

By systematically targeting immigrants for arrest, detention, and deportation, ICE creates fear within communities and perpetuates cycles of trauma and hardship. ICE relies heavily on local law enforcement and other government officials to assist with gathering information, stopping, apprehending, and detaining immigrants in Pennsylvania. 

Immigration enforcement, however, is a federal responsibility. Participation by local authorities is entirely voluntary and not required by law. Further, by assisting with enforcement of federal immigration law, localities expend their own resources and open themselves up to potential liability. For this reason, several counties and cities in Pennsylvania have enacted policies that explicitly restrict local government participation in such collaboration. 

Dismantling ICE in Pennsylvania provides sample model policies. The toolkit is divided into four broad categories of interaction with ICE that localities can seek to address: (1) general assistance; (2) interactions with criminal systems; (3) information sharing; and (4) contractual agreements. Community-based organizations can use the toolkit to advocate for policies that remedy specific forms of local ICE collaboration happening within their own communities.

Beyond the model policies themselves, the toolkit provides additional resources about each policy, including talking points, statistics, and legal information that can help advocates in speaking with local government officials. It also details information about similar policies that have been enacted in localities across Pennsylvania, with the full versions available on our website.

Mana Aliabadi (‘22), Alexis Fennell (‘21), and Kate Steiker-Ginzberg (‘22) developed the toolkit as part of the Social Justice Lawyering Clinic. For the official launch of the toolkit, PICC will host a public webinar on February 26, 2021, followed by in-depth workshops in both English and Spanish. For more information on these events, please visit PICC’s website.