San Diego community members joined local organizers last Sunday afternoon to demand the abolition of ICE and the implementation of radical changes to U.S. immigration policy. Organizers from Democratic Socialists of America- San Diego, Unión del Barrio, Party for Socialism and Liberation of San Diego and Phoenix, Arizona, Detainee Allies, People Over Profits, Anakbayan San Diego, the Brown Berets, the Immigrant Justice League and other members of the San Diego community gathered under a sunny sky at Ruocco Park to speak, chant, and march for migrants.
The demonstration was organized by the San Diego Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps.
The peaceful, family-friendly demonstration took place 12 days after the 25-year anniversary of the start of Operation Gatekeeper. Marchers carried large mock tombstones symbolizing individuals killed in ICE custody. Additionally, they held up signs and banners reading, “Close the Camps” and “Kids Belong with Their Families.”
Protesters chanted and marched along North Harbor Drive. Upon arriving at the San Diego County Administration Center, speakers took turns addressing the crowd. They spoke out against the cruel conditions suffered by detained migrants and the unchecked abuses perpetrated by Border Patrol. PSL member Danny Taugher connected the more close-at-hand violence to a broader U.S. foreign policy of unilateral domination and imperialism:
“The detention of migrants and refugees seeking asylum is a direct result of U.S. imperialism. Whether it be through economic aggression, like owning crops that come out of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to take money away from the country, or by corrupting the local governments, U.S. foreign policy is what created this crisis in the first place.… A critical part of the conversation must be about how Central and South American people have been suffering instability and horrific conditions in their countries as a direct result of U.S. imperialism.”
Organizers erected a wood panel on which they posted their demands to the County. These included calling for an end to local government contracts with ICE-enabling corporations, a prohibition on new for-profit prisons, and the resignation of Sheriff Bill Gore, among others. Above all, organizers demanded the closure of all migrant detention facilities and concentration camps.
The event left the community determined to fight for an end to the refugee crisis and its root causes. As Julian of People Over Profits said, “Some of us think of ourselves as progressive, but what we need to be is revolutionary!”