Amnesty International pushes to eliminate ICE prisons

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Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’ Beverly senior picture from when he went to Beverly.

Benji Maman staff writer

Jackie Mayzenberg staff writer

Student members of the school’s Amnesty International chapter, a global group of people of more than 10 million who “take injustice personally”, wrote a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, a Beverly graduate, demanding to eliminate ICE detention centers, which they felt were being forgotten during the pandemic.

In a letter directly from Amnesty International to Mayorkas, they wrote, “The DHS [Department of Homeland Security] spokesperson disputed Amnesty International’s findings that DHS separated approximately 8,000 family units in 2017 and 2018, claiming that this would contradict data provided in federal court by the government in the Ms. L. class action lawsuit.”

Amnesty International club coordinator junior Emma Newman and president junior Defne Onal advocate for the removal of ICE detention prisons. They created a passionate video to advocate for the removal of ICE detention prisons.

“The video is specifically about immigration, urging Secretary Mayorkas to do something because we thought our voice would be valued as Beverly students,” Newman said.

“Amnesty International has many campaigns and this campaign was during Biden’s first hundred days. As his first hundred days are coming closer, we wanted to make a short film/ad targeted towards the Secretary of United States Homeland Security Mayorkas. Since Mayorkas coincidentally graduated from BHHS, we thought it would be really powerful for us to align in our values with what’s happening in ICE detention centers and a protest against it,” Onal said.

Currently, the goal of the school’s Amnesty International club is to get Mayorkas’ attention, but also to still put attention on the government to try and eliminate the ICE detention centers.

“We want to hold these people accountable. We want them to know that just because Biden’s president now doesn’t mean people aren’t paying attention,” Onal said. “We want more recognition of policy than anything else (especially by the student body). I think having Beverly Hills High School supporting this (not just Amnesty International) would be amazing.”

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