Painesville creates task force to review controversial immigration policy

Posted at 11:30 AM, Jun 29, 2017

The Painesville City Manager is forming a task force to review a controversial immigration policy that was enacted earlier this year. 

What is Police Policy 413?

Police Policy 413 requires Painesville police to contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when foreigners are charged with drug offenses, violent crimes or are found to be involved in gang activity.

Under the policy, police also have the option of calling ICE if any residents are suspected to be living in the United States illegally.

The policy was created after the Lake County Jail delegated a responsibility it previously held onto individual police departments. 

The issue drew a large crowd at the community's June 5 council meeting.

The task force is made up of residents, city officials and police officials. Religious leaders and leaders in immigration and Latino organizations are also involved in the task force.  

Painesville City Manager Monica Irelan announced the formation of the task force on Thursday. 

“We hear loud and clear the public’s concerns about language in the policy,” Irelan said. “That is why we are continuing to talk to key community stakeholders to get further input about the policy. This policy is still under review. It is evolving and we are all open to feedback and possible revisions.” 

The task force was created to define the police, making its limits clear and fair to all residents. At the city council meeting, residents argued that the policy is discriminatory.

One part of the policy that is raising many eyebrows is the section stating that the lack of English proficiency could be considered in establishing reasonable suspicion, but not the sole factor.

“My mom, she's a citizen, and she doesn't speak any English,” Maria Flores, an immigrant and American citizen, told News 5 in June. “That's when you start thinking it's not fair."

Irelan said that it is not the city's job to enforce federal immigration law, but that the city does have a responsibility to protect presidents from violent criminals. Prior to the police, the Lake County Jail held the responsibility of reporting to ICE.