The paramilitary organization known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE or La Migra, which terrorizes immigrant families, is aggressively targeting undocumented people nationwide for deportation. ICE must be further exposed as the destructive force that is has always been since its inception in 2003. No undocumented immigrant is safe from detention and deportation, and immediate action must be taken to stop this reality.
The national immigration debate among lawmakers and the major media outlets has shifted to focus solely on whether or not to help certain undocumented youth who arrived before 2013, known as Dreamers, while ignoring the plight of the rest of the immigrant population. The debate focusing solely on Dreamers criminalizes the vast majority of the total overall undocumented population who do not qualify and turns the discussion into the good vs. bad immigrant. The false argument being that the young, background-checked immigrants are the “good ones” while everyone else are bad criminals worthy of being put at even greater risk of banishment. We need to shift the debate to one that ensures that all immigrants are free from deportations and all other forms of discrimination that undocumented people face on a daily basis including denial of housing, social services and rampant labor discrimination. Employers all too often deny people employment solely based on lack of citizenship through digital background-check programs like E-Verify, or do hire undocumented workers and then proceed with gross exploitation in every way imaginable. The undocumented population is under physical and psychological assault from Trump and his attack dogs in ICE, and this must be challenged in all forms possible. Imagine living a life where every moment you need to look over your shoulder, constantly wondering when the immigration police are coming for you. For the millions of people without documentaton in the United States, this nightmare is a reality. As a society, we must end the inhumane practice of deportation once and for all.
Activists and organizers are not exempt from the persecution and attempted intimidation from La Migra. Maru Mora Villalpando, of Northwest Detention Center Resistance, is a courageous warrior in the fight for immigrant rights. Maru has been steadily gathering international support for the struggle and continues to expose the human rights abuses at the Northwest Detention Center, the infamous private immigration prison owned by Geo Group located at 1623 J Street in Tacoma, WA. Because of her continuous and effective organizing defending and standing up for the immigrant population, she is now facing an official sanctioned threat of deportation from ICE in the form of a Notice to Appear as an attempt to silence her words and slow down the movement that she is an integral part of. It is vital that we support Maru and the entire movimiento. If Maru is ever taken into ICE custody, a campaign of non-stop direct action must be waged against the entire system to win her release and prevent her deportation at all costs. Maru Mora Villalpando is key to the struggle and must be supported and defended. Liberating her from ICE custody would not only righteously free her, but also give momentum to and be an incredible spark to the movement that would demonstrate how much power exists in a united force of people.
Exposing the practices, identities and locations of ICE operatives is essential in combating their effectiveness. As communities become increasingly familiar with ICE’s daily physical movements, where they operate and who they really are, it will become easier to further isolate them and eventually physically stop them whenever possible. It is key to expose ICE wherever they appear, posting and spreading pictures of confirmed sightings of ICE so that vulnerable people know to avoid these areas and so that willing participants can challenge them. We must be willing to shield and transport people who are at risk of detention to relative safety, a modern day underground railroad. Also, the proposed massive southern Border Wall should be sabotaged if constructed, with continuous political action targeting any business or politician associated with it.
We must bring more people into the mix if we plan to win our demands. Political education campaigns and mass movements of people taking to the streets in solidarity is essential to coincide with direct action in order to be victorious. We cannot continue to let this destructive force instill fear in and banish an entire population. Let us put aside our differences and unite against a common enemy. La lucha sigue.
Mitch Oacano writes from Tacoma, WA.