5 Ways to Fight Back Against ICE!
Here’s a chilling fact for you: according to an ICE report, between the start of the Trump administration and the end of the 2017 fiscal year, they arrested 110,568 people. That, amigos, was a 42 percent increase over the same period the year before. So, what can we do about it? It turns out that there are a few ways that we can fight back against ICE. While this isn’t necessarily a comprehensive list, we’ve put together a primer for you so you know what you can do to fight back against ICE.
1. Know your rights!
Or at least, know on a basic level what is considered legal when it comes to ICE arrests. Even if you yourself aren’t affected by ICE’s newfound zeal for deportations, chances are you probably know someone who is. One really important thing to note is that ICE doesn’t have the ability to conduct arrests anywhere they want to. Just like any other brand of law enforcement, ICE officers must have a warrant in order to enter a private residence to conduct an arrest. Short of a warrant, consent from the owner of a private residence is enough to allow them to enter and arrest someone lawfully. What this means is that if they can’t show you a warrant you are completely within your legal rights to deny ICE entrance to your home, and they can’t arrest people inside until they do have a warrant.
Even though this is the case for private residences, this is not the case for other buildings such as schools, hospitals and places of worship. While ICE has publicly declared that it would avoid “sensitive locations” like these, that doesn’t mean they’re not within their legal rights to make an arrest at one of these public places. Plus, there’s nothing stopping ICE agents from simply waiting near one of these venues to make an arrest – something that they’ve been known to do over the past few years.
Part of the joy of living in a democracy is being able to protest without the fear of detainment. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to stand in the street, hold signs and yell. You can also put whatever skills you have to good use – even if it just means being an extra set of hands. Immigrant-led organisations currently have their hands full at the moment, and can always do with another volunteer. Beyond simply helping out, volunteering for these kinds of organisations can help strengthen bonds in the community. This is super important, considering the climate of distrust we’re currently dealing with under Trump.
Keep in mind, though, if you are prime a target for the current administration’s immigration policies, you may be best to stay away from protest sites at the moment. This is because protests are typically conducted in public spaces, which can attract ICE agents since they are legally able to arrest people there.
3. Demand sanctuary policies!
It’s probably helpful to start with what is involved in implementing a sanctuary policy. If the first thing that comes to your mind is the scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame when Esmeralda seeks sanctuary at the cathedral, you’re on the right track: there’s just less singing. Sanctuary cities give immigrants a bit of protection by employing policies that limit their collaboration with ICE officials, and do not require knowledge around an individual’s immigration status to provide assistance.
The reason sanctuary policies are so important is that they enable immigrants to seek out social services, avoid unsafe work environments, and get help for domestic violence incidents since they’re not afraid of being arrested when they do try to access these services. The best way to encourage sanctuary policies in your city or town is to petition your local officials and leaders by writing letters and meeting with them. The more people who do this, the more likely it is that these bureaucratic bigwigs will listen.
4. Hold ICE accountable!
There are a few ways that you can hold ICE accountable. Firstly, you can document your encounters with ICE agents, either through writing notes or taking video. Keeping a record of these encounters is especially important in this day and age since ICE officials have been accused of using violence, intimidation, and deception during raids. By documenting what happens, you’re making sure that ICE officials stay accountable. Keep in mind that this suggestion about accountability comes with a caveat: depending on what state you’re in, you may not be legally allowed to document ICE encounters due to regulations concerning recording and consent.
Another way you can hold ICE accountable is by boycotting businesses that have contracts with them. Companies the likes of Dell, Microsoft, and even some universities have had contracts with ICE. So, it may be worth doing some reading to find out what businesses are potentially funding ICE activities and avoiding them. On that note, you can also try petitioning these businesses to terminate their contracts – or going one step further and supporting organizations that advocate for immigrants’ rights.
This probably sounds like an odd suggestion, since the 2020 elections are still a while away yet. But the thing is, now is the time to start listening to candidates about their policies on immigration. Clearly, the Trump administration is showing no sign of changing its mind on its approach to deportation. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other alternatives. For example, on 15th April 2019, the Senate Democrats called to restrict funding for the Department of Homeland Security. “We cannot support the appropriation of funds that would expand this administration’s unnecessarily cruel immigration enforcement policies, its inhumane immigrant detention systems, or its efforts to build the president’s vanity projects,” they wrote in a letter about the issue. If successful, the proposed restrictions would severely limit immigration enforcement within the US.
At this stage, 20 Democratic senators signed the letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker. Yes, senators with their sights set on the presidency. At the end of the day, however, your vote is the decider for who gets to sit on the iron throne … uh, in the White House. So, the challenge for you is to make sure that you’ve got a babysitter, or your shift covered, or study done when it comes time to vote. Make yourself available, and prioritize voting! Or, if you’re ineligible to vote, sit down with the people you care about, and let them know why this is important to you. Because at the end of the day, we vote on issues that are close to our hearts.
Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide legal counsel. That being said, there are services in your community that can provide solid advice which is only a quick google away. If you have stories to share with us about your own experiences fighting back against ICE, you’re welcome to share them with us on our Facebook – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.