On February 10, ICE announced that it had arrested 161 people in Southern California during a recent “enforcement surge.” Hours later, hundreds of protesters were mobilized in an emergency action at the ICE detention facility in downtown Los Angeles.
While ICE claims there was no connection, the current political climate makes it abundantly clear that the raids are an emboldened response to the Trump administration’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric and actions, including the January 25 executive order specifically pulling funding from sanctuary cities like Los Angeles.
Community members and organizers from groups such as CHIRLA, Unión del Barrio, The Movement for Black Lives, USWW, ANSWER Coalition and ICE out of LA Coalition members including CISPES and Immigrant Youth Coalition took Aliso St in front of the detention facility, demanding “Not one more deportation!”
The adjacent US-101 entrance ramp was also successfully blocked for hours. Police attempts to issue dispersal orders were drowned out by chants such as “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” and “Fuera ICE!” Energy remained high, and the protesters only ceded the on-ramp and Aliso St in order to take Los Angeles St. and Temple St. to march to the steps of City Hall.
Broderick Dunlap from The Movement for Black Lives stated, “I went out there to show solidarity for my undocumented brothers and sisters, to let them know they aren’t in this fight alone, to be a good ally and to remind folks that Black immigrants exist ‘cause I feel like they’re often forgotten where we talk about the undocumented. ICE raids are extremely immoral. These people are often the victims if this government’s foreign policies, and they just want a better life. They do not deserve to be criminalized and kidnapped from their families. They deserve life.”
ICE has been terrorizing the community under Republican and Democratic administrations alike, with Obama deporting more people than any other U.S. president in history: over 2.5 million. Trump promises to maintain and expand this massive deportation infrastructure, including plans to use U.S. taxpayer dollars—many of which come from undocumented workers—to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The community’s vigilant response on this night shows that the people under attack and our movement will not be intimidated. This action and the many like it that are sweeping the nation are vital to combating these reactionary anti-worker policies.