ICE arrests trigger wave of fear in Park City
Park City Police chief issues statement to reassure local immigrants
The arrest of four individuals by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Park City, on Friday, touched off a chain of social media and email speculation. Throughout the weekend messages ricocheted around the community with unsubstantiated reports of additional ICE actions.
According to one email sent to more than 40 recipients, “Our Park City Hispanic families are very scared and do not want to leave their work place or home. They are afraid to drive on the roads, for fear of being picked up.”
Representatives of Park City government, churches, schools and law enforcement are working to schedule a public meeting sometime next week to reassure local immigrants that regardless of the stepped up rhetoric on the federal level about crackdowns on immigration enforcement, Park City’s policies have not changed.
Last December, Park City Mayor Jack Thomas told a local gathering that Park City officials do not “make an extra effort seeking out those who are undocumented.”
In the meantime, on Saturday, Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter released the following statement:
Statement by Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter
“Yesterday at 5 a.m., the Park City Police Department was informed by Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, that targeted enforcement operations were being conducted within Park City. The operations resulted in the apprehension of four (4) individuals wanted on felony counts or unspecified other offenses. The ERO has assured me that these types of activities are not uncommon, nor sweeps nor raids, and are part of their normal enforcement operations. There are no other confirmed reports of targeted enforcement operations in Park City.
“Given the timing and heightened anxiety regarding Federal immigration policy, it is both understandable and unfortunate that a considerable amount of community fear and confusion was created. In Park City, the role of local law enforcement is to enforce the rule of law and ensure that the civil rights and health, safety and welfare of all individuals are protected. Our enforcement priorities are set locally by our Mayor and City Council, and are defined by the compassionate principles of our community – community policing; to prevent and apprehend criminal violent and domestic offenders; drug and human traffickers; and those with prior felony convictions or who directly threaten the safety of others.
“I have confirmed with our Mayor, City Council, the Utah Attorney General’s Office, and Federal law enforcement that these principles have not changed. Further, we must remember that individuals in the United States and Park City, regardless of immigration status, have rights under the U.S. Constitution and other laws that we respect and uphold.
“If anyone in the greater Park City community has lingering questions regarding yesterday’s targeted actions by the ERO, I encourage you to contact the ERO Salt Lake City Field Office at 801-886-7400 or SaltLakeCity.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov. In addition, I can also be reached at the Park City Police Department by calling 435-615-5500. I realize that this is a trying and uncertain time for many individuals within our inclusive and vibrant community. But we must remind ourselves to proceed with caution and sensitivity in terms of how we share and handle information.”
Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter
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