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About one hundred protesters called for the abolition of ICE on Wednesday, surrounding the agency’s Washington headquarters and blocking streets amid backlash against family detention by border officials.
Immigrant-led group Movimiento Cosecha rallied outside the main offices of Immigrations of Customs Enforcement in southwest DC with the intent of shutting down the building. Over the course of two hours, the group moved through a series of direct actions aimed at preventing access to the office complex, including blocking off driveways and forming a human chain across 12th Street.
Unlike other recent actions calling for immigration agencies to be defunded or legally limited, Cosecha called for the abolition of ICE in its entirety – a narrative gaining traction lately within the left. “Fuck your borders, fuck your walls, we will make your system fall,” chanted protesters on Wednesday morning, to which a speaker added: “Dismantle ICE, because they are the American Gestapo.”
After a rally in the driveway abuzz with the clanging of pots and pans, about half the group took to an elevated walkway around the building, where they peered through windows shouting “quit your jobs” at the workers within. Many of the ground floor cubicles they passed were empty, and the group’s leader announced that the agency had advised employees to avoid the building in anticipation of the protest. News2Share has not independently verified this claim.
Although some protesters were prepared to face arrest for the cause, police largely kept their distance and watched.
For about two weeks now, pro-immigration groups have been energized by stories of child detention at government facilities along the border with Mexico. Several actions are planned in the nation’s capital this week demanding a complete end to immigrant family detention, ahead of a larger rally on Saturday outside the White House.