protesters

A large group of nonviolent protesters are currently occupying the intersection of SW 29th Street and SW 145th Avenue in Miramar, Florida, demanding that ICE be abolished.

The protesters are locking arms inside metal pipes at the intersection and sitting in the middle of the street — a tactic often used by adherents of nonviolent civil disobedience strategies. The Miami Herald reported that protesters also have a large banner with “ICE OUT” written on it, in letters large enough for helicopters to see from the air.

Youth-led immigrant justice organization United We Dream called the protest a “block party,” inviting the community to come join them and enjoy free food, drinks, and even popsicles.

The abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has become a rallying cry for immigrants and their allies, particularly in the wake of the Trump administration’s controversial former policy of separating children from their families at the U.S./Mexico border crossing. In particular, protesters are speaking out against the inhumane conditions migrants in federal custody are routinely subjected to.

Federal court documents contain testimony from parents and children alleging that children kept in ICE and Customs and Border Protection detention facilities are forced to drink toilet water, sleep on cold concrete floors, and endure physical and verbal abuse from guards.

According to a court filing, Keylin [a 16-year-old female detainee] says the female guards also made girls “strip naked” in front of them before taking a shower, so they could leer at their bodies (her mother, Daise, corroborated her daughter’s account in a statement she gave to a lawyer). She adds that guards called the group of migrants “filthy” and “made fun of us.”

Keylin barely ate because she says the food was frozen, and she wasn’t given a toothbrush or toothpaste. Though she says the cells were so cold that she shivered and developed pain in her leg, the teen kept quiet. The guards said that anyone with an injury would be detained longer, and she couldn’t take that chance.

The call to abolish ICE has been endorsed by several members of Congress, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and multiple House Democrats, who introduced a bill to do just that. However, the current Republican-controlled Congress remains steadfastly in support of ICE, recently floating a resolution expressing support for the agency.

 

Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.

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