I am horrified and frightened that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago will be offering citizen classes in detaining immigrants.

“The Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Chicago Citizens Academy is a six-week program modeled after similar trainings held by other law enforcement agencies … to start in September,” reports National Public Radio on July 10, 2020. ICE Chicago Field Office Director Robert Guardian states: “You have been identified as a valued member of the community who may have interest in participating in the inaugural class of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Chicago Citizens Academy.” This is a pilot for nationwide implementation and will include training in “defensive tactics, firearms familiarization and targeted arrests.”

This is a nasty, dangerous throwback to Nazi tactics and incitement to more violence against our neighbors, fellow Americans and asylum seekers. Which “valued member of the community” decides that some of us are not valuable?

We witness white people following, harassing and even killing fellow Black Americans; immigrant families seeking refuge separated and detained for months; the tragic brutality of some police officers, endangering and sullying the reputation of our many good police officers; and the frenzied fighting over the politics of wearing masks to protect others.

The current administration and ICE appear dedicated to inciting even more distraction, divisiveness, fear and violence.

Members of the Maine congressional delegation need to prevent, object to and derail this divisive and violent abuse of authority.

Dorothy Raymond, Norway

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