Thousands across the country are taking to the streets to protest ahead of the Trump administration’s planned immigration crackdown.
President Donald Trump confirmed media reports on Friday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids will get underway beginning Sunday. ICE is expected to target undocumented immigrants with court removal orders, but officials told the New York Times raids will also include “collateral” deportations, in which agents detain those without legal status who just happen to be at the scene. At least 2,000 immigrants have court removal orders, officials told the Times. That said, ICE is known to make mistakes, wrongfully detaining thousands of U.S. citizens in the past.
Protests took place on Friday in cities across the country including Phoenix, Arizona; Aurora, Colorado; San Diego, California; New York, New York; Austin, Texas; Charlottesville, Virginia; and the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C.
“I think it’s important that we come together to show that we are absolutely against detaining immigrants,” said one Charlottesville resident.
— Sanctuary DMV (@SanctuaryDMV) July 12, 2019
In Aurora, hundreds of people gathered outside an ICE facility, where protesters pulled down the U.S. flag and replaced it with the Mexican flag. Elsewhere, in Austin, protesters gathered outside the Capitol building, chanting “Close the camps!” Invited speakers also talked about the terrible conditions detained migrants endure.
Protestors on @ICEgov property just pulled down the American flag and replaced it with the Mexican flag. The group by the doors is growing. Though most protestors are still on the street. pic.twitter.com/X2waaFMEOW
— Matt Mauro (@mattmauronews) July 13, 2019
“This is not our country. … We will never ever accept the sheer inhumanity of the detention camps,” said Julie Oliver, who’s running against a Republican for Congress in Texas’ 25th District. “These are human dog pounds, and they have to close,” she added.
The Trump administration’s immigration policy has come under fire in recent weeks, as the public learned how cruel it can be. Lawmakers testified to migrant women held in border control custody living without running water, being told to drink out of toilets.
Some progressives have called for abolishing ICE, which was created in 2003. While the idea of ending ICE isn’t popular yet, neither is the agency itself. Roughly 37 percent of those surveyed in a HuffPost/YouGov poll said they have a favorable view of ICE whereas 39 percent said they have a negative one. But among Democrats, 61 percent said they have a negative opinion and four in 10 said they would support abolishing ICE.
Meanwhile, advocacy groups have been advising residents in ten targeted cities who might be impacted: do not open your door to ICE agents; ask for a lawyer; and document everything. Immigrant communities have been living in fear as they await Sunday, which advocates say is the point.
“It’s purely psychological,” Roberto Suro, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California, told the Los Angeles Times. “This is yet one more example of how the Trump administration is trying to use fear as an instrument of immigration control. It generates a lot of fear and anxiety but not a lot of control. This has nothing to do with actual enforcement.”