A movement called “Occupy ICE” is emerging across the country. Over the past few days, protests against the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have happened in New York City, Washington state, Washington, Oregon, and in other locations, according to published reports.
Why are they protesting?
Protesters are calling for an end to ICE because they believe its enforcement of immigration laws and policies is a human rights abuse.
“Though the protests are not led by any one group, the Democratic Socialists of America are involved in most states, alongside groups associated with prison abolition, immigration rights and anarchist collectives,” The Hill reported.
Actress Cynthia Nixon, a Democratic challenger for New York governor, called ICE a “terrorist” organization earlier this week. She also wants the agency abolished.
ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell told The Hill the agency “fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference.” She added, however, that “ICE remains committed to immigration enforcement consistent with federal law and agency policy.”
What are protesters doing?
Dozens of protesters outside an ICE detention center in Portland, Oregon, forced the facility to temporarily shut down, according to reports. Some camped outside the center in tents and planned to demonstrate on Sunday. The protest was prompted by the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border, under a “zero tolerance” policy.
In Los Angeles, groups of protesters are camping outside an ICE facility and have blocked a driveway used by ICE vans, according to reports.
In New York City, protesters organized by the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council camped outside an ICE office building in Manhattan and blocked a loading dock the agency uses to bring immigrants in and out of the building, MACC organizer Marisa Holmes told The Hill.
Holmes told the media outlet:
I think right now is really a turning point where we have to ask ourselves what kind of society and what kind of world we want to live, what is acceptable to do to other human beings and what is not. We cannot allow this level of dehumanization and violence to be normalized. It’s horrifying.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to halt the separation of families that are apprehended at the U.S. border along Mexico. Government agencies are still sorting through how to reunite the families that were separated.
— LA Against ICE (@LAagainstICE) June 23, 2018