Things That Matter

ICE Is Arresting And Deporting Undocumented Marchers Who Attend Black Lives Matter Protests

Since the death of George Floyd reverberated across the world, millions of Americans have taken to the streets to demand justice and racial equality. Along with them have been other communities who are so often victimized by police – including undocumented residents.

Under the current immigration system, immigrants are subject to daily intimidation, violence, and abuse by the authorities – at the border, in their neighbourhoods, and at detention facilities. 

As the national outcry against police brutality and racial injustice intensify, and people continue to take to the streets – it’s important to stay alert and keep yourself and your family safe as ICE is looking for immigrants at BLM protests across the country.

Authorities have invited ICE agents to infiltrate Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S.

From New York to Arizona, ICE agents have actively been patrolling BLM protests, looking to arrest and deport undocumented participants.

In New York City, ICE agents violently tackled and detained a protester. In Arizona, ICE collaborated with the local police to detain immigrants who were mistakenly arrested near a protest site and have set in motion their deportation proceedings.

The presence of ICE agents at protests and their abuse of both immigrants and U.S. citizens serve as a reminder that the American immigration mechanism is yet another manifestation of systemic racism and police brutality. 

Even U.S. citizens who appear Latino are at risk of dangerous interactions with ICE.

Credit: Juan Delgado / Getty Images

Just last week, a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico was marching in New York at a BLM protest, when he was jumped by five ICE agents. He was violently pushed to the ground, held at gunpoint, and handcuffed and searched without explanation. In a later statement, ICE declared that the man was suspected of holding a firearm, and that no arrest was made once no weapon was found. The man, who is a military veteran, had sustained several bruises from the incident and preferred not to disclose his identity. 

“It’s just really concerning to see ICE out on the street, grabbing somebody who’s peacefully protesting before the curfew, who was doing absolutely nothing wrong,” said Terry Lawson, a supervising policy attorney at the Immigrant Defense Project, in an interview for NBC News.

The migrant advocacy community has tried its best to keep people aware of the risk of joining in protests.

Credit: @JesusOhh_ / Twitter

As protests spread across the country following George Floyd’s death in late May, so did warnings to undocumented immigrants thinking about joining the demonstrations.

Messages on social media warned that ICE officers were on the ground: “ICE is at the protest, if you’re undocumented leave!” one person tweeted.

“Please if you’re of undocumented status or have DACA PLEASE PRIORITIZE YOUR SAFETY FIRST! ICE is taking advantage,” read another tweet.

“CBP and ICE agents are at protests across the country. They have made claims to the media they aren’t going to arrest people, but we know they are notorious liars,” tweeted the advocacy group United We Dream.

There were soon online guides with resources on what undocumented people could do to stay safe, because an arrest at a protest has the potential to end in deportation.

Police working with ICE is nothing new – but the fact that they were working at BLM protests put many on edge.

Credit: Ross Franklin / Getty Images

In Arizona, police and ICE have worked closely together for decades. In fact, many protesters in Phoenix last week not only demanded an end to police brutality but also urged the Phoenix Police Department to end its collaboration with ICE. Similar protests have taken place in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.

These co-policing techniques are turning any interaction with the cops into a potential crisis for undocumented immigrants and their families.

According to US Customs and Border Protection, the agency has been asked to deploy resources to “several states undertaking various operational support roles at the request of fellow law enforcement agencies.” The CBP agents were sent to “confront the lawless actions of rioters,” not to carry out an immigration enforcement mission.

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