An estimated 200 hundred people protested outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in St. Paul, Minnesota, blocking traffic and calling for an end to U.S. border detention centers Tuesday, according to Fox 9.
Never Again Twin Cities organized the protest to take a stand against ICE. The Twin Cities branch is part of Never Again Action, which is run by Jewish activists who take “direct action against ICE and their enablers.”
Organizers told Fox 9 that the goal was “to disrupt business operations at local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices until the border detention centers are closed.”
“They also called for defunding ICE and permanent protections for all undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers,” Fox 9 reported.
Protesters blocked traffic near the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building and shouted “Abolish ICE” and “Close the Camps,” according to The Star Tribune.
Twenty-nine people were cited with unlawful assembly, according to Fox 9.
A spokesperson for ICE issued a statement to Fox 9:
“In response to recent protests, ICE has taken additional security measures to ensure employee safety and the security of all offices. ICE operations across the country have and will continue to proceed as normal despite these events. ICE fully respects the Constitutional rights of all people to peacefully express their opinions. ICE remains committed to performing its immigration enforcement mission consistent with federal law and agency policy.”
After the event, Never Again Twin Cities thanked everyone for attending the five-hour demonstration.
“Thank you for coming out today. We shut down the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building in St Paul for five hours. The building houses Homeland Security offices and an Immigration Review office aka deportation court,” the group said. “We will not rest until the camps are closed, until ICE is defunded and all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are provided permanent protection.”
In another post, the organization acknowledged protesters for their “work, bravery, resilience, singing, signs, and joy as you stand up for what is right.”
The protest was part of a larger nationwide movement organized by Never Again Action. Other protests have occurred recently in New Jersey, California and Vermont.
The organization has started a GoFundMe page to help cover the legal fees for people who “risked arrest.”
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