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Disrupt ICE: Norfolk Residents Protest Immigration Policies

July 01, 20181585Views

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"The border is a line that birds cannot see.
The border is a beautiful piece of paper folded carelessly in half.
The border is where flint first met steel, starting a century of fires.
The border is a belt that is too tight, holding things up but making it hard to breathe.
The border is a rusted hinge that does not bend.
The border is the blood clot in the river’s vein.
The border says stop to the wind, but the wind speaks another language, and keeps going."
-- Alberto Ríos, 1952. Excerpt from "The Border: A Double Sonnet"

While the combined force of mid-nineties degree heat and the celebration of Pridefest around the corner depressed turnout, about two hundred activists filtered in and out over the course of an eight hour protest as Norfolk joined cities across the nation to protest Donald Trump's immigration policies and demand the dismantling of ICE.

The event was headed up by three different organizations in shifts, including Indivisible 757, Disrupt the Elite Virginia, and Tidewater IWW. Calls were made to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which was formed as part of the Patriot Act of 2002. The agency has been under heavy fire this year as critics charge that its Enforcement and Removal division has effectively taken an outsize role in its operations while engaging in policies that separate families of undocumented immigrants, resulting in children being imprisoned away from their parents. Cases of child abuse have been reported in some of these facilities.

The Department of Homeland Security dispatched a handful of Federal Protective Service Police to monitor the Customs House, where the protest took place. An officer we spoke to noted that the building, which is a Norfolk landmark constructed in 1852, sits on federal land and is therefore under their jurisdiction. Estimates indicate that over a hundred thousand people turned out across the nation today, to demonstrate solidarity with both legal and undocumented immigrants.

Words and Photos by Jeff Hewitt