On Tuesday the following City Council members issued this statement about the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: Aidee Nieves, Maria Valle, Eneida Martinez, Maria Viggiano, Denese-Taylor Moye, Jeanette Herron. They were joined by City Clerk Lydia Martinez.
Yesterday, we were informed of an incident involving ICE officers detaining a Bridgeport resident. This resident, who is undocumented, left his home to go to work when ICE officers, traveling in an unmarked vehicle, pulled him over and detained him. To our knowledge at this time, this individual has no criminal record and was detained simply due to his undocumented status.
Bridgeport is a “Welcoming City” through a resolution passed by the City Council back in 2017. As part of this resolution, we, as a city, agreed to offer no support or coordination with immigration officials wishing to detain Bridgeport residents. We have residents in our city right now who are terrified to leave their homes and go about their daily lives because they are afraid of having their lives destroyed and their families torn apart by ICE. We cannot allow our city to be terrorized and pushed into the shadows. The Council will be working with the Mayor, the Bridgeport Police Department, as well as state and federal elected officials to ensure that we do everything we can to prevent another incident like yesterday’s from occurring again.
Furthermore, this incident highlights a serious public safety issue. ICE officers pulled over this resident in an unmarked SUV. Images of this vehicle were widely shared on social media. It becomes a public safety issue if residents are afraid to pull over their vehicles for local law enforcement operating in marked and unmarked cars. In not complying, they put themselves, their fellow residents, and Bridgeport police officers in danger. As we have seen across the country, ICE’s actions have long-lasting, negative implications for local law enforcement’s ability to keep everyone in our community safe.