For Immediate Release
March 25, 2016
Contact: Armando Carmona, firstname.lastname@example.org, (323) 250-3018
NDLON REACTION to Museum of Tolerance Partnership with ICE
Los Angeles, CA—In response to the announcement by US immigration enforcement (ICE) about their new partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance (MOT), the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) released the following statements:
Olga Tomchin, Deportation Defense Coordinator & Staff Attorney:
“As a Jewish refugee and the descendent of Holocaust survivors in Belarus (where 90% of the Jewish population was killed), I am deeply shocked and disturbed that the MOT would describe ICE as ‘inspiring’ and working with them as ‘a true partnership.’ ICE is responsible for caging immigrants, many of whom are refugees fleeing genocide and persecution, in horrific conditions and deporting many people to death and violence.
“Just two days ago, Human Rights Watch released a report on human rights abuses and torture by ICE against transgender women, most of whom are refugees. I am currently working on two separate cases where ICE handed transgender women refugees to for-profit prison companies who have detained them with men, putting them at great risk of rape.
“ICE is the agency that locks up refugee mothers and young children in prison camps with high levels of sexual abuse. Moises Aguirre, a teenage asylum-seeker from El Salvador and the son of our friend Francisco, was so traumatized and terrified of ending up in their custody again that he chose to abandon his asylum case and return to El Salvador, resulting in his murder on February 2nd.
“On March 23rd, over 20 faith leaders, including rabbis, were arrested in a protest against ICE’s abusive practices. The legacy of the Holocaust and anti-Semitic persecution have strongly influenced my work fighting state violence by ICE, and I suggest the MOT stop distorting our historical trauma to provide PR for such a major violator of human rights.”
Veronica Federovsky, West Coast Coordinator:
“It is sad that an institution established to keep alive the history of the trauma suffered by my family and trying to prevent such atrocities from happening again is partnering with an agency that would have deported my ancestors to their deaths.
“As a Jewish Argentinian immigrant whose family was persecuted and murdered in the pogroms in Russia and whose survivors migrated to Argentina as refugees, I am saddened and angered. Our people experienced torture, forced disappearances, and exile merely for being Jewish, in addition to attacks such as the ones against AMIA and the Israeli Embassy. My personal history, that of my ancestors, and having lived as an undocumented immigrant in this country for 12 years is precisely what has driven me to fight against the injustices committed by ICE.
“Refugees fleeing their countries to save their lives or provide a better future for their family (as did my great-great-grandparents when they fled to Argentina and then my parents when they came to the United States), end up in ICE’s detention centers, sometimes for years, suffering violations of human rights and separation from their families. I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if my family had fallen into the hands of ICE.”