Resistance: Angelenos Take to Streets as ICE Raids Descend on Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES

RESISTANCE WATCH--Protesters took to the streets in Los Angeles after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly raided homes and communities around the city and detained over 100 people in a mere three hours. (Photo above: Protesters shut down an intersection near an ICE detention facility in Los Angles.)

Reflecting the growing community-level resistance to President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown, protesters chanted "not one more deportation!" in front of an ICE detention center and later formed a human chain in the street:

While an ICE spokesperson defended the citywide immigration raids as routine, local immigrant advocacy groups say the volume of reports of detentions they received is unusual and frightening, and a part of Trump's harsh crackdown on immigrants' rights.

"This is the kind of situation we feared would happen, and here it is," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

In Los Angeles on Sunday, according to the Associated Press, United Methodist Pastor Fred Morris 

handed out a double-sided sheet listing congregants' civil rights: Don't open the door to anyone without a warrant. Don't talk. Don't sign any document.

He is planning a community meeting for Monday night.

He has another plan, too. He started organizing a phone chain. If he hears about a raid in his community, he will call five people, who will call five people and so on. They will all show up, stand on the sidewalk and chant: "ICE go home."

"The only weapon we have," he said, "is solidarity."

To that end, Our Revolution, the grassroots political organization launched to harness the energy of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, is asking supporters to "pledge to take action locally to protect immigrant families and stop the raids."

The alarming raids came the same day a mother of two who has lived in the U.S. for over 20 years was deported from Arizona to Mexico, despite protests from her community and pleas from her children. The deportation was widely seen as just the beginning of Trump's xenophobic campaign against peaceful undocumented immigrants.

Indeed, while ICE claimed its detentions in Los Angeles targeted people with violent criminal records, CHIRLA said that many people detained on Thursday had no criminal convictions to speak of.

Moreover, CHIRLA policy director Joseph Villa also told a local TV station that despite CHIRLA's efforts to speak to those being detained, "ICE is not releasing their names. ICE is not allowing them to see their attorney."

"We can't make this the new normal," Salas said. "People were calling us—we were in the middle of a staff retreat, we stopped everything because we were receiving so many calls from our community. Our community is concerned and they really do feel terrorized."

Watch members of CHIRLA describe the deportations here:

Local advocacy groups have been holding vigils, attempting to connect detained people with immigration lawyers, and offering "know your rights" trainings to help undocumented immigrants fearing raids. A solidarity rally for immigrant rights is planned in New York on Friday. 

Civil rights advocates are also calling on law enforcement to help them resist an emboldened ICE agency. Many local police departments, including the Los Angeles Police Department, have promised not to assist ICE with immigration detentions and deportations. 

As part of the effort to resist Trump's crackdown, immigrant youth group United We Dream also launched a #HereToStay campaign, which asks supporters of human and civil rights to pledge to show up in person when ICE comes to deport members of their community. 

(Nika Knight writes for Common Dreams … where this report was first posted.)

-cw

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS