A Tuesday morning protest in downtown Chicago outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's office resulted in 12 arrests.
Protesters blocked the street for more than an hour outside ICE's building, 101 W. Congress Parkway.
Activists protesting against deportations and immigration raids sat in the street outside ICE's building with their arms linked in tubes. Others sat on ladders in the street.
"I am here to say that there needs to be an end to raids and deportations," Francisco Canuto with Organized Communities Against Deportations said in a statement. "Agents entered my home under false pretenses, they fingerprinted me and my roommates, and took me into detention. I spent 13 awful days in a detention center that I don't wish on anyone."
Black Lives Matter activists joined the immigration reform protesters, who say ICE is the "largest police force in the country."
"Undocumented people in Chicago and nationally are living in fear daily of being taken from their homes and away from their families. We, as Black American community organizers, can relate to that fear," members of Assata's Daughters said via statement. "Our communities experience that fear when Chicago Police Officers patrol our neighborhoods, stop and frisk us, occupy our schools, and arrest us in mass. Our struggles are distinct but connected. When enforcement is overfunded, that is money that is not being spent on services that actually keep us safe."
"Chicago spends 40 percent of its budget on police," added Tania Unzueta, policy director for the #Not1More Campaign and organizer with OCAD. "At the federal level, government spends more on immigration than all other law enforcement combined. We have to invest in developing and nurturing our communities not deporting and incarcerating them. If these agencies have endless resources, they will find endless ways to target and harm our families. They need to be defunded and dismantled."
The activists also vocalized the following grievances with ICE at Tuesday's action, including:
- Violation of civil and human rights and unnecessary use of force and armed weapons during immigration raids;
- Abuse of power and mistreatment of individuals by deportation officers and other ICE staff without repercussion;
- Deportation and detention of individuals who are eligible for relief or discretion and those seeking refuge and asylum in the U.S;
- Lack of communication and accountability with community members certified to receive information about individuals, legal representatives, and community advocates.