With ICE raids occuring across the country and protests happening in response, a man allegedly attacked an ICE detention center outside Seattle.
The man, who has been identified as Willem Van Spronsen, was allegedly throwing Molotov cocktail style explosive devices at the main building along with parked cars.
Police responded to the scene and shot and killed the suspect.
A man was allegedly throwing explosive devices at a Seattle-area ICE detention center.
An employee at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Northwest Detention Center called Tacoma police around 4 a.m. Saturday, reporting a man outside with a rifle who was throwing incendiary devices.
A car in the parking lot was set on fire, and the man also threw the lit devices at buildings and attempted to ignite a propane tank, police said.
“This could have resulted in the mass murder of staff and detainees housed at the facility had he been successful at setting the tank ablaze,” Shawn Fallah of ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility said in a statement. “These are the kinds of incidents that keep you up at night.”
The man was fatally shot by police.
The gunman died at the scene; four officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave per department policy. The incident is under investigation.
The attack on the migrant center comes amid nationwide protests against planned ICE raids on the immigrant community.
A peaceful protest rally took place at the facility hours before the shooting. Another protest event planned for Saturday was cancelled.
La Resistencia, a group that organizes protests of the detention center, said it believed that the suspect was not targeting people at the facility.
The group said in a statement: ” His actions sadly reflect the level of desperation people across this country feel about the government’s outrageous violence against immigrants, which includes the use of detention centers to cage migrants both currently living in the US and those seeking asylum.”
While a friend told the Seattle Times that Van Spronsen, who she described as an anarchist and antifascist, sent a letter before the incident saying goodbye. She added she believed his actions were a form of suicide.
The migration from Central America to the North isn’t as simple as people seeking out the American Dream. That is a beautiful fantasy, after all, but it’s not the whole truth. The reason people from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are leaving their country is because of the violence, and it’s also about so much more. It’s a matter of life and death. While murderers are responsible for countless senseless deaths, others are fleeing because of limited resources, and lack of necessary essentials.
Some Salvadorans, especially from poor communities, are fleeing their country because there’s a significant water shortage.
The water crisis in El Salvador isn’t something that just happened overnight. Researchers and organizations have been warning about this catastrophe in El Salvador for decades. The Salvadoran Humanitarian Aid, Research and Education Foundation (SHARE) group documented back in 2007 that impoverished communities demanded water rights in their areas. Most, if not all, of the main water, was going to private companies and being used by the top of society. The most impoverished people in El Salvador, which is a significant group, were being left with nothing. Now, a new study shows that there’s a deadline to the last drop.
New research shows that the entire country of El Salvador will be unhabitable in 80 years if the water crisis is not rectified.
The Defensa de Los Derechos Humanos (PDDH) released a study that showed the dire numbers which led to the government of El Salvador to declare a national emergency.
“According to the scientific analyzes carried out by different international organizations and analyzed in the present study, if we continue in this logic of deterioration, degradation of water goods in El Salvador, in 80 years life will be unfeasible in the country,” David Morales, head of the PDDH, said, according to EFE.
The water crisis seems to be the result of two factors: climate change and the privatization of water.
The National Geographic reports that after two major natural disasters, El Salvador struggled to recover. In 2014, the country suffered an exceptional drought which left “96,000 Salvadoran families without adequate food,” and millions more going hungry. The following year, El Niño brought even more dry weather.
“If we want to confront climate change, we first need to have strong governance,” Helga Cuéllar-Marchelli, director of the department of social studies at the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) told the National Geographic. “We need a joint effort from the central government, municipal governments, civil society, [and] the business sector. If there is no legal framework, it will be very difficult to coordinate efforts.”
The water crisis is forcing members of poor communities to walk for miles to get water from wells only to find there might not be any there for them.
The “natural” water that is available for poor people isn’t safe to use because it’s contaminated, but because they have no other choice, they use it anyway.
The publication reports that sewer water that carries intense contamination levels goes straight into natural water, including streams and rivers. It is this water that people use to drink, wash their clothes and bathe. More than 90 percent of this natural water is toxic, and an estimated 6.4 million people are using this contaminated water.
Early this year, people from El Salvador marched for water rights and people on social media used the hashtag #NoAlaPrivatizacionDelAgua.
The protest, led by students, feminists, and advocates of water rights, were also met with pushback from police forces.
The World Bank reports that local farmers and people trying to survive with their own crops are the ones that are facing this major crisis. Salvadorans aren’t the only ones affected either, but neighboring countries as well.
“More than half a million families are suffering from what experts call ‘food insecurity,’ – in other words, the lack of food – due to agricultural and livestock losses. According to estimates by Central American governments, Oxfam and other international aid agencies, 236,000 families in Guatemala, 120,000 in Honduras, 100,000 in Nicaragua and 96,000 in El Salvador are already facing this situation.”
Jess Ofelia Alvarenga, an independent reporter, documented how her family, is dealing with the water crisis in El Salvador.
This summer she filmed the struggle her uncle faces with the lack of water. She says he can no longer harvest rice or watermelons. It is this lack of water that is forcing thousands to move to El Salvador’s metropolitan areas, which already has a scarcity of water for the low-income, or flee the country altogether.
Immigration is a topic that is on the news daily but do we really understand the kind of hardships that migrants go through when adapting to our culture with their migration. We know that traveling across the border — whether legally or without documentation — can be a dangerous and emotional venture. We also know that living in a xenophobic society like ours is also highly risky for immigrants who seek a life in the United States.
However, the change from one community to another is an issue that makes a large impact on these lives but is not often discussed.
One issue that comes from this situation is the depression and loneliness that accompanies immigrant parents when they build new lives in the United States.
Twitter / @the_levantist
A viral Twitter thread posted on July 28th by @the_levantist brought to light a very important discussion about immigrant parents and depression. As the tweet points out, many migrant parents go from growing up in a very tight-knit community with a strong base of supportive friends and family to being in a new world that feels isolated from uninterested neighbors and co-workers.
While immigrant children are able to go to school to make new connections and friends, adults usually find that the stigma of being an immigrant stifles their ability to branch out. Broken English, a valid mistrust of government officials and programs and separation from their mother communities is common. It makes it that much harder for immigrant parents and adults to find the kind of human support needed to function in this world.
This loneliness results in depression. Mental illness is already a greatly stigmatized issue in most minority communities but is made even worse when a person experiences a distancing or cutting off from friends and family. As such, it makes it even harder to confront these problems and improve the situation.
Twitter really felt this thread and it soon received over 34k retweets, 125k likes and hundreds of comments.
Twitter / @dknyjade
This Twitter user explained that she has seen the same sort of struggle first hand. She tells about how difficult it was when her mother came to a new country, with no connections, no English proficiency and with a newborn baby. This a common picture of immigration in America and the loneliness of this situation is easy to feel.
This tweet suggests that the best way to handle this loneliness is for adult children to become counselors to their parents.
Twitter / @MHus66
Completely uprooting one’s life does take a huge toll on a person’s heart and mind. This tweet suggests that adult children of immigrants should remain conscious of this heartache. Of course, immigrant children have a lot on their plates already but helping a parent to get the mental attention they need is important to minimize depression and mental illness in the immigrant community.
Let’s not forget that these parents deserve big props.
Twitter / @BojorqueSophia
As this Twitter user expresses, we have to give it up to any immigrant parent who has gone through this transition and remained strong and determined. It takes a lot of bravery and dedication to decide to change your life for the better — even in the easiest of circumstances. To do so when everyone is rejecting you is an incredible act of courage.
Migrant mothers have an extra obstacle in their way when it comes to connecting with their communities.
Twitter / @cazwithbeans
When immigrant mothers come to the United States and become stay at home moms — either by choice or necessity — it limits the number of adult interactions they are able to have. Without the immersion of daily conversations with other adults, it can stifle language fluency. That combined with a lack of time to socialize without children greatly impacts their ability to form important connections.
Of course, since it’s the internet, not everyone felt bad for immigrant adults and parents.
Twitter / @the_levantist
The human reaction to this painful reality would be empathy. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of this. Some of the responses to this thread were ugly Nationalist talking points telling immigrant adults and parents to “Go back to where they came from.” The grossly racist sentiment is another problem that adult immigrants experience that add to the depression and anxiety they develop.
Luckily, not everyone feels this way about adult immigrants.
Twitter / @daavid_prhys
Most people realize that being an immigrant isn’t a free ride. It doesn’t come with easy access to the things one needs and it’s often very lonely if one doesn’t have a support system. Let’s not allow this conversation to end here. This is something that we as a community need to take seriously so that we are there to build support for those who have had to live without it.
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