LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Police for the Union Pacific Railroad will no longer collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people and transfer them into federal custody, the ACLU announced Monday.
The policy change came after the ACLU and several immigrant rights groups sent a letter to Union Pacific in March of 2019 alleging that, for decades, railroad police had arrested people and then transferred them to ICE.
The Union Pacific Police Department — an agency which patrols 32,000 miles of track across 23 states – will stop collaborating with ICE to detain and arrest people, the ACLU said in a news release.
Under its new policy – which took affect in March — UP police will not use a person’s “suspected immigration status” as a factor as to whether to detain them, will not ask a person to disclose their immigration status, will not “order the person to produce immigration documents” or “make contact with a federal immigration agency to report the person.”
Furthermore, ICE reached a settlement Monday in federal court in Los Angeles to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that it would not turn over documents which provided proof of its relationship with UP police.
After the lawsuit was filed, ICE produced more than 250 pages of records regarding arrests made by the UP police in collaboration with ICE, the ACLU said.
As part of the settlement, ICE will pay $15,000 in legal fees and the lawsuit will be dismissed.
“UP’s collaboration with ICE threatened immigrant families and was inconsistent with the California Values Act,” said Jessica Bansal, an attorney with the ACLU in a statement. “We are pleased the new policy cuts ties with ICE and will be monitoring closely to ensure the troubling practices revealed by the FOIA litigation do not return.”
The demand letter sent last year to the UP police was from a coalition that included the ACLU SoCal, Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Palestinian Youth Movement, and El Centro Cultural de Mexico.
The lawsuit against ICE was filed on behalf of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, the Western State College of Law Immigration Clinic, Public Counsel, and the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project.
There was no immediate comment from Union Pacific.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)