Occupy ICE

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Occupy ICE is a series of protests, modeled on the Occupy Movement, that emerged in the United States in reaction to the Trump administration family separation policy, with a goal of disrupting operations at several U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) locations.

Protesters block the entrance of the Detroit ICE Field Office on June 25, 2018


The protests began in Portland, Oregon, on June 17, 2018,[1] under the moniker OccupyICEPDX after a rally against Donald Trump's "Zero Tolerance Policy" grew into a vigil and occupation which resulted in an ICE detention center there being closed indefinitely. Protests have taken place at ICE headquarters in New York, and at facilities in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Louisville, Washington state, and Utah.[2][3][4][5][6]

The movement arose following media reports of more than 2000 children being separated from their parents, after the parents were arrested for illegally crossing into the U.S. via Mexico. The family separation resulted from a "zero tolerance" policy enacted by Donald Trump in April 2018 as part of the Trump administration's immigration reform efforts.

While the protests have been likened to the Occupy Wall Street movement, the first series of Occupy ICE protests seen in Portland were unplanned and organic. The first camp in Portland grew from a rally organized by Jacob Bureros of Direct Action Alliance with support from local immigrant rights groups and attended by local leaders including former Portland NAACP head and current Portland City Councilor Jo Ann Hardesty and Oregon State Representative Chris Gorsek. A vigil to honor people who had suffered from the policies grew from participants in the rally and march who stayed and talked about how to potentially have more of an impact.[7]



Portland, Oregon[edit]

On June 17, 2018, hundreds of protesters assembled outside of an ICE facility in Portland, Oregon at a rally called by Jacob Bureros of Direct Action Alliance. Following the rally, a group of activists decided to hold a 24-hour vigil to honor the victims of the "Zero Tolerance Policy" under the moniker OccupyICEPDX. Following confrontations between ICE agents and protesters which were broadcast by Direct Action Alliance on Facebook Live on June 18 and 19, a much larger group of people had gathered outside of the location by the 20th of June and Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced they would close indefinitely following the city police's refusal to respond to calls for assistance by immigration agents who claimed to be in danger, a claim that local police determined to be false (NOTE: the article in reference 8 does not support that the claim is false).[8] Law enforcement officers working for the federal government including Federal Police and ICE agents moved on demonstrators in the early hours of June 28, arresting multiple activists.[9]

The protest camp remained after the attempted sweep by law enforcement which only succeeded in clearing the front entrance to the facility, it has been described by federal officials as a "very, very peaceful" protest camp.[10] The camp had a well stocked kitchen with food and supplies being donated by local residents and many prominent local businesses; onsite child care was available along with basic medical care and even a massage and meditation tent. A 6-ft wooden barricade was constructed by the community to protect the camp from the street. Near to the camp the Department of Homeland Security built a separate barricade with federal police erecting a metal fence around the ICE building on July 2.[10]

It was reported on July 5 that three members of the protesters would consume only Gatorade until Portland officials removed ICE from the city in a self-proclaimed hunger strike.[11]

Senator Bill Cassidy called for Portland mayor Ted Wheeler to step down over the protests.[12][13][14] President Donald Trump also criticized Wheeler.[15][16]

Greenwich Village, New York[edit]

Outside of an ICE building protesters created a rotating group protest outside the facility to call for the abolishment of the facility and an end to the immigration detention center on June 27.[17] The activists stated they took inspiration and networked with other #OccupyICE groups, such as the groups in Portland and Philadelphia.[17]

San Francisco, California[edit]

A camp was created outside an ICE building in San Francisco, in July 2018. On July 3 protesters were witnessed blocking the driveway used by vehicles transporting detained individuals, with roughly 35 protesters claiming to not leave until the federal agency is abolished.[18][19]

In the early hours of Monday, July 9, the camp was raided by the San Francisco Police Department. SFPD arrested 39 protesters, injuring several in the process.[20]

One year later on Tuesday July 30, 2019, the street in front of the ICE offices was again occupied by protesters advocating that ICE be abolished. A day long event billed as a block party became a tent encampment after dark. The encampment lasted until the early hours of the morning on August 1, 2019, when police arrested 18 persons including one youth, citing them for illegal lodging.[21]

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[edit]

An ICE building in Philadelphia was seen as the site of a camp on July 2, with police acting quickly to disperse the protesters, causing some arrests and injuries. Confrontations between protesters and police continued for five days until the camp was finally raided and moved to City Hall.[22] Protesters have raised demands that Philadelphia end its agreement with the federal government, to allow ICE to access to city police, court and prosecutorial records filed in the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS). The city decided to end the PARS contract.[23]

Louisville, Kentucky[edit]

Protesters began occupying the ICE offices in downtown on the morning of July 2 with 20 tents. Initially, they had barricaded the entrance/exit of the parking lot for the agency's detainee transport vans. About two hours after the barricade was erected, the Department of Homeland Security destroyed it and several of the tents.[24] The protests continued for the whole day despite this, but protestors were forced to remain off of federally-owned property.[25] As of July 7, 2018, protestors and counter-protestors were still present behind police barricades. [26] On Thursday, July 19, Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Department forced the removal of the protest.[27]

Atlanta, Georgia[edit]

On July 2, it was reported that police threatened to arrest any protesters who didn't move, causing the protesters to move to a nearby private property. Police had previously claimed that protesters had thrown frozen water bottles and kicked officers, the previous day.[28]

Wichita, Kansas[edit]

In July 2018, protesters were asked to leave the parking lot of a private office building that had been rented for use of ICE officials. Wichita police officers and Department of Homeland Security Officers told the protestors that they had to leave the property as the owner did not want them to be there. Thus, many of the protesters moved to the nearby sidewalk as it was public property.[29] The building was being targeted as a place of protest as it was believed that it was a detention center for immigrants, although ICE officials claimed that it was an office complex and only housed undocumented immigrants while their paperwork was being processed.[30]

Detroit, Michigan[edit]

In June 2018, protesters placed tents in front of an ICE office within Detroit, Michigan to create a home-base, although it was dismantled after five days. Activists at the location claimed demands that included, a shutdown of the nations detention centers, immediate reunification of children with their families, abolishing of ICE, and asylum for all immigrant parents detained trying to enter the United States.[31]

Tacoma, Washington[edit]

It was reported on June 26 that the protest had a typical overnight population of just 20 people, but the group's numbers grow closer to 70 during day light hours.[32]

Los Angeles, California[edit]

On June 22, dozens of protesters assembled at LA's Metropolitan Detention Center in protest of ICE. The protest quickly turned into a camp which also effectively served as a blockade to the main bus entrance for the entirety of its duration. On July 2, Councilman Mike Bonin was arrested alongside 17 other protesters while blocking an additional entrance.[33] On September 11, approximately 60 protesters blocked all entrances to the detention center.[34] The activists decamped on September 16, its 87th day, making it the longest running Occupy ICE encampment in the country. Over its course, 24 arrests were made, and the additional entrance was blocked multiple times. The camp continues to hold community vigils for the separated families every Friday evening at the detention center.


At least nine protesters were arrested in Portland on June 28, according to The Oregonian.[35] In Philadelphia at least 29 protesters were cited by police for "Failure to Disperse" outside of ICE offices on July 2.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ VanderHart, Dirk. "ICE Temporarily Shutters Portland Facility Due To 'Occupy' Protest". www.opb.org. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Birnbaum, Emily (June 23, 2018). "'Occupy ICE' protests emerge across the country". The Hill. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Meador, Jonathan (July 2, 2018). "Encampment aims to 'Abolish ICE,' pressure mayor". Insider Louisville. Archived from the original on December 30, 2018. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Gupta, Arun (June 22, 2018). "#OccupyICEPDX: Protesters 'occupy ICE' over US immigration policy". Al Jazeera News. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Wilson, Jason (January 20, 2018). "'Occupy Ice': activists blockade Portland building over family separations". The Guardian. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "Occupy ICE protesters plan weeklong demonstration at Detroit office". WXYZ-TV. June 24, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  7. ^ Gabbatt, Adam (July 6, 2018). "The growing Occupy Ice movement: 'We're here for the long haul'". the Guardian. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  8. ^ Wootson, Cleve (June 25, 2018). "A protest movement shut down an ICE facility in Portland — and is spreading to other cities". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "Feds begin removing Occupy ICE protesters in Portland". WGNO. June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "A Standoff Between Occupy ICE Protesters and Homeland Security Agents Is the New Normal on Portland's South Waterfront". Willamette Week. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  11. ^ "Protesters At Portland's Occupy ICE Camp Start Hunger Strike To Pressure City Officials". Willamette Week. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  12. ^ ALLMAN, KEVIN. "U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy calls for Portland, Oregon mayor to step down over ICE protests".
  13. ^ VanderHart, Dirk. "Weeks After Occupy ICE PDX, Mayor Ted Wheeler Is In National Republican Sights". www.opb.org.
  14. ^ "U.S. Senator Calls For Mayor Ted Wheeler's Resignation Over His Handling of ICE Protests".
  15. ^ "Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Strikes Back at Trump: "We Want a President That We Can Be Proud Of"".
  16. ^ "Trump Berates Mayor Wheeler For His "Shameful" Response to Occupy ICE".
  17. ^ a b "Occupy ICE temporarily shuts down facilities in several US cities". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "'Occupy ICE' protesters camp out, call for abolishment of federal agency". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  19. ^ Levin, Sam (July 3, 2018). "Occupy Ice: protest camps expand across US amid calls to shutter agency". the Guardian. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Mojadad, Ida (July 9, 2018). "SFPD Raids Occupy ICE Encampment". SF Weekly. San Francisco Newspaper Company. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  21. ^ Tetreault, Christina (August 2019). "Over a dozen ICE protesters arrested in San Francisco". KRON4. KRON4 News. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Protesters Occupy Philadelphia ICE Office - UNICORN RIOT". UNICORN RIOT. July 2, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  23. ^ "More Arrest, Camp Destroyed at ICE Protest in Philly". NBC 10 Philadelphia. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  24. ^ Novelly, Thomas (July 2, 1018). "Immigration protesters' tents torn down outside ICE in Louisville". Louisville Courier Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  25. ^ Meador, Jonathan (July 2, 2018). "UPDATED: Encampment aims to 'Abolish ICE,' pressure mayor". Insider Louisville. Archived from the original on December 30, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  26. ^ "Occupy ICE protest, counter-protest in downtown Louisville". WKYT. July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  27. ^ "Mayor Greg Fischer on Twitter".
  28. ^ FOX. "Immigration protesters clash with Atlanta Police, 1 arrested". WAGA. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  29. ^ Burgess, Katherine; Lefler, Dion (July 2, 2018). "Wichita police, protesters face off outside ICE building; no arrests made". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  30. ^ Burgess, Katherine (July 3, 2018). "An ICE building has drawn protesters, but is it a detention center?". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  31. ^ Ikonomova, Violet. "Homeland Security dismantles 'Occupy ICE' encampment in Detroit". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  32. ^ "These Protests Against ICE Are Actually Working". Vice. June 26, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  33. ^ "18 People, Including L.A. Councilman, Arrested at Protest Outside ICE Facility in DTLA". KTLA. July 2, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  34. ^ "Occupy ICE shuts down ICE in Los Angeles". Workers World. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  35. ^ "At least 9 arrested as authorities clear blockade, reopen SW Portland ICE facility". OregonLive.com. Retrieved June 29, 2018.