ACLU Calls New Painesville Immigration Policy "Racial Profiling"


Elizabeth Perez speaks at a May 15 rally to raise awareness of mass deportations in the U.S. - ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • Elizabeth Perez speaks at a May 15 rally to raise awareness of mass deportations in the U.S.
Lake County residents say they plan to fill Painesville City Hall at a City Council meeting Monday evening to oppose the city of Painesville's new policy on immigration.

That policy — policy 413 — is set up so that anyone charged with a serious crime (including an OVI) would be immediately reported to the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency, volunteer Maggi Barth told Scene.

The ACLU of Ohio, in a letter dated May 25, wrote to Painesville Police Chief Anthony Powalie objecting to the policy. It urged the department to rescind the policy, which it said “directs the Painesville Police to engage in unlawful racial profiling, and to venture into the unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration law.”

Federal law (8 USC 1373) requires local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities when requested. It does not authorize local law enforcement agencies to inquire and collect immigration information and status and actively report that to federal immigration authorities.

“Of course we don't want violent crime, drugs or gang activity in the city. But we do not support Policy 413.” said Kelsey Fischer in a press release. (Fischer is purchasing a home in Painesville.) “By instructing police to report someone to immigration when they have been merely charged with a crime, Policy 413 violates the constitutional right that we all have – regardless of our immigration status – to a fair trial.”

Painesville residents attended last month's Painesville City Council meeting and raised similar concerns there as well. Some said they held private meetings with city manager Monica Irelan and Police Chief Powalie last week.

“We were told that the city has no intention of rescinding Policy 413, and we were pointed to a resolution on immigration that the city passed in 2008 and which is still in effect,” said Kathy Deane, a Painesville resident of over three decades, in the same release. “We will discuss this with city council as well.”

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