On July 2nd, a coalition of groups in Philadelphia occupied the local ICE office. In what follows I offer a few quick sketches of the occupation. I was there at the opening of the march at City Hall at 5PM until I had to leave at 9, and then again the next day (July 3rd) at 9:30, leaving just after noon. Today, July 4th, the occupation enters its third day. The account and ideas below are therefore cobbled together from my own experiences, from Unicorn Riot’s live feed, and from reports from comrades who were there when I couldn’t be.
Washington DC: On the 30th of June, the Abolitionist Contingent broke away from the huge #FamiliesBelongTogether march, and protested at the fancy condo home of Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller. It was Stephen Miller who both designed Trump’s Muslim Ban and encouraged Trump to start ripping children from their parent’s arms at the border. Now he has to answer to the public at the very gates of his home.
This week, we’re featuring two interviews. The first was an an interview from the IGDcast with someone affiliated with #OccupyIcePDX blocking the immigration detention center in Portland, OR. The second was a chat we had with a supporter of the J20 arrestees, from among the 230 people rounded up during the Inauguration protests of January 20th, 2017, in Washington, DC and still facing over 60 years in prison each.
Starting in mid-June, occupations sprang up around the United States in protest against ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement). These occupations were a response to ICE policies which include separating families as they cross the border, incarcerating and drugging undocumented children, and deporting millions of undocumented people of all ages, often to places where they will be put in grave danger. In the following accounts from the ICE occupations in Portland, Tacoma, and Atlanta, participants reflect on some of the internal challenges facing movements against the border regime.
A growing encampment has established itself at the Northwest Detention Center immigration prison in Tacoma. People have been camping out for several nights now, sharing food, making friends, and building capacity toward abolishing ICE and ending the violent horror of borders. There is free food, a badminton net, free literature, engaging conversation, and lots more. Every day at 9am and 9pm is a family-friendly noise demo for the prisoners inside, and there’s lots of room for other forms of solidarity and resistance as well.
A red light shone down upon the camp, casting a light reminiscent of fires of civilizations past. Similar camaraderie hung in the air. It was somewhere around midnight in Portland, Oregon; in front of the soon to be former ICE offices.
Statement by Jalhouse Lawyers Speak on behalf of the National Prison Strike core.