Resistance Takes on ICE Raids and Intensifying Ethnic Cleansing of Immigrants—People Everywhere Must Join In!

March 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


The fight to stop this regime’s cold-blooded and criminal war on immigrants has reached a pivotal moment. Make no mistake about it: What we are witnessing is nothing less than a fascist, white supremacist ethnic cleansing program.

The Trump/Pence regime’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol enforcers are on a rampage, pumped by a barrage of lies and racist propaganda out of the mouths of Trump and his attack dogs, Jeff Sessions and Acting ICE Director Thomas D. Homan. Hardly a day goes by without news of more crimes by ICE: raids and roundups... immigrants snatched up at hospitals, schools, and courthouses... arrests of Dreamers daring to confront ruthless politicians using their lives and futures as bargaining chips... mounting threats from the regime aimed at crushing the sanctuary movement.

In the face of this, immigrants and their supporters around the country have been organizing and taking action, and developing different forms of resistance: calling for marches and protests; creating “rapid response” networks; setting up surveillance of courthouses and other locations where ICE may be lying in wait; and spurring a dramatic increase in the number of churches and synagogues preparing and beginning to take in immigrants trying to avoid arrest, detention, and expulsion by ICE, and more.

The courageous struggle now being waged mainly by immigrants has to be actively joined and strengthened, now, by everyone with an ounce of humanity. And this movement has a powerful role to play in the movement called for by Refuse Fascism to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime through mass political action.

Here is a glimpse of the different forms of resistance developing across the country, including in areas beyond the major cities. (This is drawn in part from a recent front-page article in USA Today—“Warning of Raids, Staking Out Courthouses: Immigration Activists Find New Ways to Thwart Trump.”)

Meeting the Monsters and Their Attack Dogs Head On

  • In Sacramento, California, 200 protesters from groups across the San Francisco Bay Area, including Refuse Fascism, came together and marched in the streets early morning on March 7, chanting “Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here.” They came to confront Attorney General Jeff Sessions—one of the Trump/Pence regime’s leading fascist enforcers and propagandists—as he was about to speak to 200 California police chiefs.
  • The Sacramento Handmaids Coalition—women dressed like the characters in The Handmaid’s Tale1 —carried signs: “This is how it starts,” and “Keep fiction from becoming fact.” Several Democratic California lawmakers were there and spoke out. A local pastor said, “I’m disgusted that Jeff Sessions came out here today.” An 18-year-old youth from Sacramento explained to a San Francisco Chronicle reporter why she had to be there: “Hatred is infecting everything and you’ve got to show up. The general increase in this idea that to be American you have to be white—it’s really infuriating. This idea is not new, but we’ve seen it incredibly inflamed since Obama left office.”
  • The day before, Sessions had directed the Department of In-Justice to file a lawsuit against the state of California and its governor and attorney general to put a stop to three laws which limit cooperation by state law enforcement and businesses around the state, and calls for the state to inspect ICE detention centers. (See Trump, Sessions Escalate Attacks on Sanctuary for Immigrants—This Is Intolerable! This Must Be Stopped.)
  • In San Francisco, 200 protesters surrounded the ICE office last week to oppose the arrest and detention of 150 immigrants in Northern and Central California raids. In response RefuseFascism, immigrant rights groups, religious forces, and others have been protesting at the ICE regional facility, including blockading the gates and projecting the word GESTAPO on the building.
  • In Washington, DC, hundreds of Dreamers and their supporters protested on March 5, the date Trump set to end DACA, which gives protected status to some minors brought to this country without papers. (This deadline has now been delayed temporarily pending court action.) Eighty-seven protesters were arrested, some for blocking traffic while chained together and lying down in the street, and others for protesting inside the building where House Speaker Paul Ryan has his office. Among those arrested were four Dreamers who had walked 250 miles from New Jersey to DC with seven others for the protests. Marches, rallies, and prayer vigils took place the same day from Nevada to DC to Trump Tower in New York City. One week earlier, dozens of Catholic nuns, priests, and lay people were arrested during a civil disobedience action in support of the Dreamers.
  • Around the country on March 1, people responded to a call from Refuse Fascism to organize “11 minutes of silence for all 11 million undocumented immigrants” and to post their actions on social media. Among those taking part in the day were students on campuses across the country, including UCLA, Columbia, Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, the University of Arizona, the University of Houston, and the University of Washington. At the University of Chicago, a member of the Revolution Club was arrested after participating in the nationwide action. (See photos and videos of the day at

Faith-Based Communities Stepping Forward to Provide Sanctuary

  • In Montclair, New Jersey, a synagogue is renovating unused space to create living quarters for anyone seeking sanctuary from ICE agents. Rabbi Ariann Weitzman said the congregation wants it to be known what they are doing: “It is so underground, people have no idea what is happening because there is no light shining on it, and as much as we can shine a light on it, I think that would be to the benefit of everyone involved.” According to World Church Service, there are 1,000 religious congregations offering sanctuary around the country—a 150 percent increase since Trump’s election.
  • In Phoenix, Arizona, the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ provided sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant from Mexico facing deportation. He is father to five children who are all citizens and he is married to a citizen. One of his children is receiving treatment for leukemia. After three days, ICE was forced to grant him a one-year stay from deportation.
  • In Chicago, February 5, in 1 degree weather, almost 100 clergy and members of faith communities and organizations gathered downtown at Federal Plaza to demand protection for the Dreamers. The call for the rally said, “100 clergy from across the Chicagoland area will join together to call on Congress to protect DREAMers.”

Stakeouts to Catch ICE Red-handed

  • In New Brunswick, New Jersey, the Deportation and Immigration Response Equipo (DIRE), led by a local minister and supported by the mayor, has organized volunteer monitors to “stake out” the local courthouse and livestream any ICE detentions. The volunteers pass out pamphlets explaining immigrants’ rights, while patrolling for federal immigration agents.

Local and State Government Support for Sanctuary for Immigrants

  • In Seattle last week, the King County Council banned county workers, including police, from asking anyone about their immigration status, and banned ICE agents from visiting non-public areas of county facilities, including jails, without a warrant. They also directed jail workers to tell anyone facing an ICE interview that they have a right to remain silent. Seattle and King County are on the fascist regime’s “short list” of targeted sanctuary jurisdictions.
  • In Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf made a public announcement notifying the community that ICE raids were about to begin in Northern California. One-third of Oakland residents are immigrants. For this she was publicly attacked and threatened by Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, and Jeff Sessions called out the mayor in a rabid tirade in his Sacramento speech.
  • In San Francisco, city officials have hired more public defenders to help detained immigrants, and gave $1.5 million to immigrant rights groups for “education and legal aid” campaigns.

Preparations for Defending Against ICE Raids

  • National organizations are stepping forward to condemn the growing ICE raids and provide assistance in different ways. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) have created and made available online a comprehensive “ICE Raids Toolkit” called “Defend Against ICE Raids and Community Arrests.” Issued in 2017, this toolkit provides information about Homeland Security and ICE methods of operation, and guidance for immigrants on how to prepare for and defend themselves in the event of ICE raids and arrests..

And there is much more organized resistance, from New York to Los Angeles, Houston to Denver, and beyond.

Stop Thinking Like Americans—

The Trump/Pence fascists have not backed down in the face of opposition to their war on immigrants—they have doubled down. From day one, the ethnic cleansing of immigrants has been a cornerstone of the Make America White Again program of fascism in this country. And it has become the battering ram for overall consolidating their fascist rule, and there are real stakes for their whole fascist vision in the outcome.

There are tremendous stakes as well for the lives and the future of millions of immigrants in this country—and for humanity. The movement standing up in the face of this has to be joined and spread—right now. Not by falling in behind the Democrats, and being confined by the system’s electoral framework, but by acting independently. There are millions in this country today filled with disgust, anger, and agonizing who can be awakened and inspired to join in actively resisting the crimes of this enemy of immigrants, while organizing others to do the same. From college and high school campuses to the neighborhoods of the oppressed, among educators, lawyers, doctors, and artists—“business as usual” has got to be stopped. A powerful, growing movement actively refusing to tolerate ethnic cleansing has the potential to change the whole political terrain, and become an opening for the movement to drive this whole regime from power to take hold on a societal level.


1 The Handmaid’s Tale is a current TV series based on a Margaret Atwood novel depicting a Christian fascist society in which strict biblical law and patriarchal values are viciously enforced by the rulers.  [back]


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