Parks and Recreation Youth Says “ICE Holds Are Wrong!”


By Carolyn C Coulter

Last Wednesday, RAWK partnered with Kalamazoo’s very own City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation (Parks and Rec) program. We worked with the 8 to 10-year-olds, with hopes of carrying out RAWK’s mission, to celebrate and amplify youth voices through the cultivation of reading and writing skills via joy, creativity, equity, and access. This mission was upheld as RAWK taught youth at Parks and Rec how to create their own book with their own world, regarding something that they were passionate about. In doing so, one of the students from Parks and Rec, Susanna Day Lee, used this opportunity to write about an issue that is relevant to many individuals today: ICE Holds.

ICE holds occur when an immigrant with no legal status is arrested or detained for any reason by local law enforcement authorities and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may place a “hold” on that person. This means if a friend or relative attempts to pay a bond to have the person released from jail, local authorities will not release them but rather hold them to allow ICE to transport them to an ICE Detention Center.    

When a person has been arrested, local law enforcement run their fingerprints through various federal databases. This notifies ICE if the person is in local custody and that there is no record of the person having a lawful status. ICE then places a hold on a non-citizen when it believes that the person is subject to removal by filing a detainer with the local law enforcement agency. The detainer requests the law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of its intention to release the person, and to hold that person for an additional 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, to allow ICE to take custody of the person.

Susanna was inspired to write about ICE holds from her personal experience with the system. Susanna’s mother’s church have advocated against the unjustified ICE holds after encountering a woman named Saheeda who would have been deported to almost certain danger had it not been for the help of her mother and the people of the church. Susanna’s mother’s church began providing a sanctuary for the woman who was facing deportation about a year ago. This sanctuary is only possible because police are not legally allowed to arrest persons in a church.  Susanna’s story describes the woman’s story and how she, her mother, and the congregation fight for justice for this woman and protect her and anyone to come after her.

RAWK couldn’t have been more impressed by the way the student used her book to advocate for what she believes is right, and stand up against what she believes is wrong. Way to use your words to fight for equity, Parks and Rec youth! What an honor for RAWK to have been a source for your outlet.

For more information about Saheeda and her struggle for safety, visit protectsaheeda.org

“Detainer Policy.” ICE, www.ice.gov/detainer-policy.