Occupy ICE

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Occupy ICE is a series of protests, modeled on the Occupy Movement, that emerged in the United States in reaction to the Trump administration family separation policy, with a goal of disrupting operations at several U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) locations.


The protests began in Portland, Oregon, on June 17, 2018,[1] under the moniker OccupyICEPDX after a rally against Donald Trump's "Zero Tolerance Policy" grew into a vigil and occupation which resulted in an ICE detention center there being closed indefinitely. Protests have taken place at ICE headquarters in New York, and at facilities in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Louisville, Washington state, and Utah.[2][3][4][5][6]

The movement arose following media reports of more than 2000 children being separated from their parents, after the parents were arrested for illegally crossing into the U.S. via Mexico. The family separation resulted from a "zero tolerance" policy enacted by Donald Trump in April 2018 as part of the Trump administration's immigration reform efforts.

While the protests have been likened to the Occupy Wall Street movement, the first series of Occupy ICE protests seen in Portland were unplanned and organic. The first camp in Portland grew from a rally organized by Jacob Bureros of Direct Action Alliance with support from local immigrant rights groups and attended by local leaders including former Portland NAACP head and current Portland City Councilor JoAnn Hardesty and Oregon State Representative Chris Gorsek. A vigil to honor people who had suffered from the policies grew from participants in the rally and march who stayed and talked about how to potentially have more of an impact.[7]



Portland, Oregon[edit]

On June 17, 2018, hundreds of protesters assembled outside of an ICE facility in Portland, Oregon at a rally called by Jacob Bureros of Direct Action Alliance. Following the rally, a group of activists decided to hold a 24 hour vigil to honor the victims of the "Zero Tolerance Policy" under the moniker OccupyICEPDX. Following confrontations between ICE agents and protesters which were broadcast by Direct Action Alliance on Facebook Live on June 18 and 19, a much larger group of people had gathered outside of the location by the 20th of June and Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced they would close indefinitely following the city police's refusal to respond to calls for assistance by immigration agents who claimed to be in danger, a claim that local police determined to be false.[8] Law enforcement officers working for the federal government including Federal Police and ICE agents moved on demonstrators in the early hours of June 28 with weapons drawn, arresting multiple unarmed activists. [9] The protest camp remained after the attempted sweep by law enforcement which only succeeded in clearing the front entrance to the facility, it has been described by federal officials as a "very, very peaceful" protest camp.[10] The camp had a well stocked kitchen with food and supplies being donated by local residents and many prominent local businesses; onsite child care was available along with basic medical care and even a massage and meditation tent. A 6-ft wooden barricade was constructed by the community to protect the camp from the street. Near to the camp the Department of Homeland Security built a separate barricade with federal police erecting a metal fence around the ICE building on July 2.[10]

It was reported on July 5 that three members of the protesters would consume only Gatorade until Portland officials removed ICE from the city in a self-proclaimed hunger strike.[11]

Senator Bill Cassidy called for Wheeler to step down over the protests.[12][13][14] President Donald Trump also criticized Wheeler.[15][16]

Greenwich Village, New York[edit]

Outside of an ICE building protesters created a rotating group protest outside the facility to call for the abolishment of the facility and an end to the immigration detention center on June 27.[17] The activists stated they took inspiration and networked with other #OccupyICE groups, such as the groups in Portland and Philadelphia.[17]

San Francisco, California[edit]

A camp was created outside a ICE building in San Francisco, in July 2018. On July 3 protesters were witnessed blocking the driveway used by vehicles transporting detained individuals, with roughly 35 protesters claiming to not leave until the federal agency is abolished.[18][19]

In the early hours of Monday, July 9, the camp was raided by the San Francisco Police Department. SFPD arrested 39 protesters, injuring several in the process.[20]

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[edit]

An ICE building in Philadelphia was seen as the site of a camp on July 2, with police acting quickly to disperse the protesters, causing some arrests and injuries.[21] Protesters have raised demands that Philadelphia end its agreement with the federal government, to allow ICE to access to city police, court and prosecutorial records filed in the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS).[22]

Louisville, Kentucky[edit]

Protestors began occupying the ICE offices in downtown on the morning of July 2 with 20 tents. Initially, they had barricaded the entrance/exit of the parking lot for the agency's detainee transport vans. About two hours after the barricade was erected, the Department of Homeland Security destroyed it and several of the tents.[23] The protests continued for the whole day despite this, but protestors were forced to remain off of federally-owned property.[24] As of July 7, 2018, protestors and counter-protestors were still present behind police barricades. [25] On Thursday, July 19, Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Department forced the removal of the protest.[26]

Atlanta, Georgia[edit]

On July 2, it was reported that police threatened to arrest any protesters who didn't move, causing the protesters to move to a nearby private property. Police had previously claimed that protesters had thrown frozen water bottles and kicked officers, the previous day.[27]

Wichita, Kansas[edit]

Detroit, Michigan[edit]

San Diego, California[edit]

Tacoma, Washington[edit]

It was reported on June 26 that the protest had a typical overnight population of just 20 people, but the groups numbers grow closer to 70 during day light hours.[28] However, the group utilizes a Twitter account in order to spread information about the movement and upcoming events to a larger audience.[29]

Los Angeles, California[edit]

On June 22nd, dozens of protesters assembled at LA’s Metropolitan Detention Center in protest of ICE. The protest quickly turned into a camp which also effectively served as a blockade to the main bus entrance for the entirety of its duration. On July 2, Councilman Mike Bonin was arrested alongside 17 other protesters while blocking an additional entrance[30]. On September 11, approximately 60 protesters blocked all entrances to the detention center[31]. The activists decamped on September 16th, its 87th day, making it the longest running Occupy ICE encampment in the country. Over its course, 24 arrests were made, and the additional entrance was blocked multiple times. The camp continues to hold community vigils for the separated families every Friday evening at the detention center.


At least nine protesters were arrested in Portland on June 28, according to The Oregonian.[32] In Philadelphia at least 29 protesters were cited by police for "Failure to Disperse" outside of ICE offices on July 2.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ VanderHart, Dirk. "ICE Temporarily Shutters Portland Facility Due To 'Occupy' Protest". www.opb.org. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Birnbaum, Emily (June 23, 2018). "'Occupy ICE' protests emerge across the country". The Hill. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Meador, Jonathan (July 2, 2018). "Encampment aims to 'Abolish ICE,' pressure mayor". Insider Louisville. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Gupta, Arun (June 22, 2018). "#OccupyICEPDX: Protesters 'occupy ICE' over US immigration policy". Aljazeera News. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Wilson, Jason (January 20, 2018). "'Occupy Ice': activists blockade Portland building over family separations". The Guardian. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "Occupy ICE protesters plan weeklong demonstration at Detroit office". WXYZ-TV. June 24, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  7. ^ Gabbatt, Adam (July 6, 2018). "The growing Occupy Ice movement: 'We're here for the long haul'". the Guardian. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  8. ^ Wootson, Cleve (June 25, 2018). "A protest movement shut down an ICE facility in Portland — and is spreading to other cities". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "Feds begin removing Occupy ICE protesters in Portland". WGNO. June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "A Standoff Between Occupy ICE Protesters and Homeland Security Agents Is the New Normal on Portland's South Waterfront". Willamette Week. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  11. ^ "Protesters At Portland's Occupy ICE Camp Start Hunger Strike To Pressure City Officials". Willamette Week. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  12. ^ ALLMAN, KEVIN. "U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy calls for Portland, Oregon mayor to step down over ICE protests".
  13. ^ VanderHart, Dirk. "Weeks After Occupy ICE PDX, Mayor Ted Wheeler Is In National Republican Sights". www.opb.org.
  14. ^ "U.S. Senator Calls For Mayor Ted Wheeler's Resignation Over His Handling of ICE Protests".
  15. ^ "Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Strikes Back at Trump: "We Want a President That We Can Be Proud Of"".
  16. ^ "Trump Berates Mayor Wheeler For His "Shameful" Response to Occupy ICE".
  17. ^ a b "Occupy ICE temporarily shuts down facilities in several US cities". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "'Occupy ICE' protesters camp out, call for abolishment of federal agency". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  19. ^ Levin, Sam (July 3, 2018). "Occupy Ice: protest camps expand across US amid calls to shutter agency". the Guardian. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Mojadad, Ida. "SFPD Raids Occupy ICE Encampment". SF Weekly. San Francisco Newspaper Company. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Protesters Occupy Philadelphia ICE Office - UNICORN RIOT". UNICORN RIOT. July 2, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  22. ^ "More Arrest, Camp Destroyed at ICE Protest in Philly". NBC 10 Philadelphia. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  23. ^ Novelly, Thomas (July 2, 1018). "Immigration protesters' tents torn down outside ICE in Louisville". Louisville Courier Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  24. ^ Meador, Jonathan (July 2, 2018). "UPDATED: Encampment aims to 'Abolish ICE,' pressure mayor". Insider Louisville. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  25. ^ "Occupy ICE protest, counter-protest in downtown Louisville". WKYT. July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "Mayor Greg Fischer on Twitter".
  27. ^ FOX. "Immigration protesters clash with Atlanta Police, 1 arrested". WAGA. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  28. ^ "These Protests Against ICE Are Actually Working". Vice. June 26, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  29. ^ "Occupy ICE NWDC (@Occupy_NWDC) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  30. ^ "18 People, Including L.A. Councilman, Arrested at Protest Outside ICE Facility in DTLA". KTLA. 2018-07-02. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  31. ^ "Occupy ICE shuts down ICE in Los Angeles". Workers World. 2018-09-17. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  32. ^ "At least 9 arrested as authorities clear blockade, reopen SW Portland ICE facility". OregonLive.com. Retrieved June 29, 2018.