Things That Matter

Heated Protesters At A Colorado ICE Facility Replace The American Flag With The Mexican Flag In A Show Of Defiance

The conflict at America’s southern border proves to be more and more horrific as containment continues. Now, with ICE raids having started over the weekend, more activists are getting in the mix to protest the existence of these facilities and their abusive treatment of migrants. On Friday, protesters camped outside of ICE detention centers around the nation, ready for rallies to denounce further internment of migrants from Central America and other foreign nations.

One of these protests is receiving national attention because of how demonstrators handled the facility’s United States flag.

Protesters at the Aurora, Colorado facility removed the American flag on display outside the building and replaced it with the flag of Mexico.

Twitter / @RealSaavedra

American flags are always flown outside of government buildings. A “Blue Lives Matter” flag was also removed and replaced. The flag was hoisted upside down on its pole with the words “Abolish ICE” spray painted upon it.

The DENVER POST reported that the demonstration was just one part of a nationwide event called Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps. The events were aimed at protesting the scheduled onslaught of ICE raids that are planned for the coming weeks. The event’s goal was also to expose the human rights violations being committed against the detained migrants.

The altered flags did not fly for long. Armed guards quickly removed the Mexican and defaced “Blue Lives Matter” flags and replaced them with another US flag and the Colorado state flag.

Still, the brief act of defiance caught Twitter’s attention and nobody was happy about it.

Twitter / @charliekirk11

Conservatives and Republicans were quick to see this as an act of treason. This Twitter user claimed that the Democratic goal for the next election year was to “Make America Mexico.” This isn’t the point that protesters were trying to make but it is one that was assumed by  Conservative Twitter. Many far-right Twitter accounts have since referred to this act as proof of an “invasion” as opposed to immigration.

This account relied on a racist mantra in response to the Mexican flag swap.

Twitter / @TrumpStudents

Often times when citizens criticize the United States, conservatives respond with the old adage “If you don’t like it here, leave.” That’s how this Trump Student Twitter handle responded. However, this is our country too and, instead of abandoning it, protesters and activists want to make it more inclusive and more harmonious. Besides, protesting against tyranny is just about as American a tradition can get.

Still, there were others disappointed by this swap. Central American and Latinx Twitter were quick to point out the hypocrisy.

Twitter / @_danalvarenga

Many pointed out that the Mexican government is just as responsible for the death, brutality, and confinement of Central American migrants as the United States is. Salvadoran journalist, Daniel Alvarenga, tweeted his disapproval of the Mexican flag swap by pointing out that this act is not the solidarity that activists should be showing towards migrant communities. The Mexican flag, he points out, is also a symbol of death to many Central American people.

This Twitter user glibly suggested that the presence of the Mexican flag meant that activists were acknowledging Mexico’s role in the deaths of thousands of Central Americans.

Twitter /@EarlsxLips

This fact is often dismissed but migrants traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the US are often treated despicably by Mexican officials. They are denied shelter, resources and are quickly hastened to the Mexican-American border. They are not given any sort or comfort or safety in Mexico. Central America migrants also face discrimination and hatred from Mexican nationals — making their trip even more difficult.

Another Twitter user observed that people from the Latinidad are often lumped together under one incorrect classification.

Twitter / @TheHoesherJew

This tweet points out that not all Latinx folk are Mexican. Flying the Mexican flag erases the fact that most people in these southern border facilities are not from Mexico. It perpetuates a bigoted assumption and is probably not the message activists wanted to send.

The takeaway? The suffering of our Central American familia needs to be acknowledged instead of capitalized upon for a photo op with a flag of their oppressors. The United States government isn’t the only one to harm these migrants and we should remember that going forward as we try to ally and advocate with the migrant community.

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