On July 3, a number of organizations gathered outside the Adelanto Detention Center in Southern California, making a call for the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and the immediate release of all detained immigrants. The protest was called following the recent exposure of conditions in concentration camps along the southern border of the United States.
Organizations including the American Indian Movement, SoCal 350.org, Ground Game LA, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation – Los Angeles led chants, shared stories related to the struggle, and performed music to express their solidarity with the immigrants incarcerated inside.
The Adelanto Detention Center is the largest ICE prison in California, privately run and owned by the GEO Group, a multinational prison management contractor with over 140 facilities worldwide. This immigrant detention center in the small Inland Empire city of Adelanto has recently been exposed for widespread abuses of its nearly 2,000 detainees. The city of Adelanto gave up all management rights over the facility in April 2019, leaving the GEO Group-managed prison without city council supervision and with opportunities to grow, since ICE will no longer have to consult with the city council to seek expansion.
The same capitalist class in the U.S. that imposed economic underdevelopment and political chaos in Central America is now profiting from the imprisonment of Central American refugees seeking asylum. ICE pays GEO Group $125 a day per immigrant. The Adelanto Detention Center holds up to 2,000 detainees, most of whom are employed at a wage of less than $1 a day to maintain the facility. This prison alone makes over $90 million a year, and in 2018, Geo Group’s CEO, George C. Zoley, took home $6,660,814 in wages, stocks and bonuses.
“We need a new system. This system is built on fear, because it’s not in the hands of the people,” said Eduardo, a student in San Bernardino attending the protest. “It takes a mass of people to stop the system … the first step is the revolution of the mind and then we can break away from these patterns of history.”
Salvador, a student from Irvine, said: “This is an imperialist state, [and] history keeps repeating itself because we keep trying to change only one thing at a time when really the issue is a structural one. We have to abolish ICE, we have to completely rearrange the state we’re living in.”
The actions of violent and oppressive institutions like ICE have become more and more visible to wider and wider sections of the U.S. population. All across the U.S., outraged people are calling for the abolition of ICE, pushing thousands to take to the streets in protest of local concentration camps and ICE facilities. Abolish ICE now! Immigrants are welcome here!