To the Editor:

In light of increased detentions and deportations of undocumented immigrants undertaken by the federal government, representatives from Milford Speaks Out — a local community action group — met with Milford’s Chief of Police, Keith Mello, to discuss the city’s policy on undocumented residents.

The Milford Police Department, according to Chief Mello, is following Connecticut’s Trust Act regulations. This act, which passed unanimously in 2013, allows state and municipal governments to submit to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s request to detain individuals only if there is a felony conviction, an outstanding warrant or if the individual is listed on the federal Terrorist Screening Database.

Connecticut was the first state to pass such legislation.

Residents throughout the state have become concerned about the treatment of refugees and undocumented individuals. Recently, the wife and daughters of Milford resident and popular business owner, Fadi Kassar, were denied entry into the U.S. due to the President’s initial immigration ban, which affected refugees and nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The family was finally reunited due to the extraordinary efforts of Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.  

Many people in Milford spoke up in support of Kassar and many people are speaking out about arbitrary deportations of undocumented immigrants. Communities across the state and faith-based organizations have stepped up to provide assistance in an attempt to keep families from being separated, a separation that could last years and years.   

In partnership with the Milford Public Library, Milford Speaks Out will be co-hosting a presentation by Imam Sami Abdul Zahir on “Understanding Islam: Education for these turbulent times.” Imam Zahir is president of Common Ground Services in the Muslim chaplain at Wesleyan University. The event will be held in the library program room, Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.  

Milford Speaks Out is a grassroots organization that addresses issues such as environmental protection, immigration and refugees, public education, women’s health/affordable care act, diversity, and LGBTQ rights. Members work with local, state and national organizations and with our political leaders to advance policies that reflect our shared values.

Jeanne Cervin