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The Occupy Movement Reemerges As Anti-ICE Protests Grow Across The Country

Occupy ICE protestors are using the same tactics that made income inequality a major political issue by now focusing on the immigration crisis.

Photo by Esther Lee/Flickr. Cropped from the original.

While the Trump administration slowly dials back its cruel “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, a growing movement looks to strike back against Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

On June 17, a group of protestors gathered around the federal prison in Portland, Oregon, where immigrants are being detained under the banner #OccupyICEPDX. By the next day, the group grew to over 70 protestors. It soon became an all-night vigil with protesters standing together, arm-in-arm, to block any vehicles from leaving the facility.

The protests inspired the newly-formed #OccupyICEPDX to put out a call to action to people across the country to establish their own occupations to abolish ICE. Occupy ICE protests have since sprung up in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington state.

\nSince June 20, Occupy ICE protestors have gathered at the loading docks at the ICE processing center in lower Manhattan. The protests have caused federal immigration authorities to halt some operations, including all bond hearings.

Protesters in Los Angeles are camping out at ICE offices downtown, blocking ICE vans from leaving the facility.


In downtown Chicago, Occupy ICE protesters were arrested outside of a federal building.


Occupy ICE in Detroit is planning to occupy its ICE headquarters sometime this week. “We want to completely blockade this facility, completely impede any progress for continuing their pogrom against immigrants,” the group’s spokesperson, Robert Jay, told Michigan Radio.

Origins of Occupy

The Occupy movement originally began in 2011 when activists attempted to take over Wall Street to fight back against economic inequality. The movement eventually grew to become a worldwide phenomenon with people across the globe rallying under the slogan, “We are the 99%.”

By 2015, the Occupy movement in the U.S. had splintered off into a variety of causes. But it had a lasting effect on the national dialogue on income inequality by reframing the issue as 99% of Americans versus the wealthy 1%. The movement also drummed up more concern about the influence the wealthy have on national politics.

Now, with Occupy ICE, protestors are using the same tactics that made income inequality a major political issue by focusing them on the immigration crisis. The Occupy banner gives anti-ICE protestors an established playbook to follow and helps to provide a unified front for the movement across the country.

Detentions remain

On June 24, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services said that the 2,053 children who’ve been separated from their families will be returned after their parents’ deportation proceedings have been completed.

Since the president’s reversal on his child separation policy on June 21, only 522 children have been reunited with their families.

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