‘Rapid Response Network’ to protect Cincinnati immigrants, refugees from federal raids

"Rapid Response Network" announced at a news conference outside Cincinnati City Hall Thursday.
"Rapid Response Network" announced at a news conference outside Cincinnati City Hall Thursday.(Dale Lutz | FOX19 NOW)
Updated: Jul. 25, 2019 at 1:21 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld announced legislation Thursday to protect Cincinnati immigrants and refugees from federal raids.

Called “Rapid Response Network," the move comes three days after Trump administration announced that it will vastly extend the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants without allowing them to appear before judges, its second major policy shift on immigration in eight days.

The American Civil Liberties Union and American Immigration Council have said they would sue to block the Trump administration’s policy.

The Immigrant & Refugee Law Center, Cincinnati Compass, Jewish Community Relations Council, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Cincinnati Police Department all attended the news conference on the steps of Cincinnati City Hall.

The “Rapid Response Network” would link together resources for families in need in the event a family member is taken into custody.

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Sittenfeld filed a motion on July 17 to form the Rapid Response Network, which was signed by six council members including Sittenfeld, according to our news partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer. The other council members were Greg Landsman, Chris Seelbach, David Mann, Tamaya Dennard and Wendell Young.

Sittenfeld told the Enquirer he expects the legislation will unanimously pass in a full council vote the first week of August.

The Rapid Response Network will be led by the Immigrant and Refugee Law Center, a local non-profit, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

According to the Enquirer, the Rapid Response Network will focus on four specific areas:

  • Legal response, including screening for possible immigration relief, representation in bond hearings, and representation in immigration cases.
  • Know your rights training for the broader community, including but not limited to immigrants, employers, City officials and departments.
  • Family preparedness plans relative to what happens to children, property, etc., in the event that parents are detained.
  • Immediate needs assistance to families affected by detentions, as it is often the breadwinner that is detained while the rest of the family is left with no income and afraid to leave their homes.

Earlier this month, “Operation Border Resolve” was launched by the Trump Administration. It was touted as a major show of force against the influx of Central American families crossing the border but only resulted in 35 arrests, federal immigration officials announced Tuesday.

Of those arrested, 18 were members of families, and 17 were collateral apprehensions of people in the country illegally who were encountered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. None of those arrests resulted in family separations, agency officials have said.

ICE also conducted a separate nationwide enforcement operation targeting undocumented immigrants who had criminal convictions or charges. That operation netted 899 arrests from May 13 to July 11, according to agency officials.

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