Skip to content

Demonstration Against ICE Immigration Practices – Last Night (June 21, 2019) in front of Aurora, Colorado ICE Facility: ICE Immigration Raids Announced for Sunday

June 22, 2019

Two of the 250-300 demonstrators protesting U.S. immigration policies in front of the Aurora, Colorado ICE facility run by GEO (R. Prince photo)

Molly called yesterday (or was it the day before?). Would I accompany her to a demonstration organized by the national group “Indivisible” at the Aurora, Colorado ICE facility just east of Denver. Yep, says I. I’d pretty much had it following the state crimes this Administration has committed against immigrants. Why not demonstrate? Again.

The picket comes just days prior to a media report that ICE is set to begin immigration raids in 10 cities on Sunday (June 23, 2019). It is not certain that only ten cities will be target or that Denver or Aurora are included (although at least one news source specifically mentions Denver as one of the cities to be effected. President Donald Trump tweeted – his only form of communication these days – that such an operation was imminent. Immigrant communities and their supporters are bracing themselves accordingly. (1)

Colorado Independent article by Grace Carson on the picket and probable imminent ICE raid also reported that Denver will be targeted.

I had just saw news how lawyers representing the Trump Administration had argued in a San Francisco court that the federal government was not required to provide child immigration detainees with tooth brushes, soap, nor beds to sleep on – only the latest in series of Nazi-like practices the current administration (and the last one) has engaged in against undocumented, incarcerated immigrants.

The Aurora ICE facility is a privately run facility run by the prison company GEO. Cases of mumps and chickpox had been confirmed at the facility, these among multiple federal standards violated by the GEO facility managers, this according to a federal report done by the Office of the Inspector General, cited in a recent issue of Westword. As of June 4, 152 detainees at the Aurora facility were under quarantine because of cases of mumps and chicken pox.

Besides the unhealthy conditions there, the facility has been changed with the excessive and improper use of handcuffs on prisoners, the mishandling of at least one detainee who died there. Commenting on the report in the Westword article, Liz Jordan, an at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center noted, “The report points to the fact that this is an extremely oppressive, punitive environment, where it may take a real toll on an individual detainee’s mental health.”

Commenting on the report in the Westword article, Liz Jordan, an at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center noted, “The report points to the fact that this is an extremely oppressive, punitive environment, where it may take a real toll on an individual detainee’s mental health.”

A month earlier, on May 20, 2019, after having been refused entry into the Aurora ICE facility, Jason Crowe,recently elected U.S. Congressman, introduced federal legislation to allow members of Congress the right to imspect ICE facilities within 48 hours of providing notice to the facility. Crow had earlier defeated right-wing Republican Congressman Mike Coffman, a tenacious if extreme conservative Republican who had played a key role in slamming the door on immigrant entry possibilities to the country. Trying to rebound, Coffman is now running for mayor of Aurora, Colorado’s immigrant-rich third largest city; his chief opponent is Omar Montgomery, head of the Aurora NAACP.

250-300 Protesters in the rain

And so we went, joining 250-300 protesters in a light rain outside the Aurora ICE facility. The names of many immigrants who had died crossing the Mexico-US border were handed to protest participants and read aloud. Empty pairs of shoes were on the ground in front of protesters in memory of these victims, some of whom were nameless. At one point the whole body moved from in front of the facility on to Peoria Street – a main north-south Aurora thoroughfare – where cars honked in support.

Molly told me that the organizers knew that the presence of demonstrators outside the facility gave

Aurora Colorado ICE detainees looking out at Immigrant Rights demonstrators. (Lenora Garcia photo)

those incarcerated hope that they are not alone and forgotten – reason enough to be present there and yell chants till our throats were sore. Indeed, it appears that this was the case yesterday. Our presence was heartening to those inside. Molly texted me a photo of a number of detainees (is that the proper term for people illegally and immorally incarcerated) smiling at us through a facility window. The photo was taken by Lorena Garcia.

The fact that I  knew  virtually none of my fellow demonstrators pleased, rather than depressed me. Here was a whole new crop of folk, many young, some not, angry and committed to throw a monkey wrench in our country’s quickening lurch towards fascism. But then a little surprise – not the first time this has happened. A young vaguely familiar woman approached us and said hello. Caitlin Trent. A decade ago she had taken a course I taught on Global Social Movements at the University of Denver and now is an organizer for the Colorado Immigrant Coalition. A reminder of the precious social value of a career in teaching.

The fact that I  knew  virtually none of my fellow demonstrators pleased, rather than depressed me. Here was a whole new crop of folk, many young, some not, angry and committed to throw a monkey wrench in our country’s quickening lurch towards fascism. But then a little surprise – not the first time this has happened. A young vaguely familiar woman approached us and said hello. Caitlin Trent. A decade ago she had taken a course I taught on Global Social Movements at the University of Denver and now is an organizer for the Colorado Immigrant Coalition. A reminder of the precious social value of a career in teaching.

Then this morning, on social media (Facebook), Michael Himawan, a social activist acquaintance,

posted the following – which I quote in full:

“I’m still processing what we saw tonight. To be frank, I never expected our detained neighbors would

be so visible from the street. So closeby, that if we weren’t separated by metal, concrete, and glass, we might even speak.”

“When I saw them, my throat caught. I have so many questions. How did they feel about being photographed, how do we navigate this without it turning into trauma tourism, voyeurism, and disaster porn.”

“How do we make this about them as much as possible – about their liberation, about their full and open humanness. How do we transform this moment from spectacle, to an ongoing process of engagement.”

“Grateful this weekend & always for the local organizations who have made this work their mission. For Casa de Paz, for CORRN. Because #ThisIsAurora, and it needs us to act. To become the legal observers, the reporters, the courthouse accompaniment, the sanctuary, the respite.”

:Eight minutes away from my home–in a place happy to market itself as Colorado’s #1 most diverse city–tucked deep inside one of its most historically Black & Brown neighborhoods and counties, somewhere between University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, InnovAge, and Stanley Marketplace, a privately owned, for-profit concentration camp grows, unmitigated and unchecked, in the dark.”

____________

Footnote:

  1. Information keeps changing. Now Trump is reported saying he will delay the ICE raid scheduled for tomorrow (June 23, 2019) until Congress works out a compromise on Immigration.

(R. Prince photo)

 

 

One Comment leave one →
  1. William Conklin permalink
    June 22, 2019 9:24 pm

    The reason for the number of immigrants coming from Central America to the United States is simple. The United States has invaded these countries, displaced their governments and put American Corporations in control of the resources. Furthermore, the drug laws and the American desire for drugs has created a huge illegal market. The solution is not to build a wall or imprison immigrants. The solution is to bring the troops home from the 800 military bases in the world, send thousands of them to Central America to improve living conditions and enforce real democracy. Take all American Corporate power out of Central America and give the resources back to the Central Americans. Legalize drugs, empty the prisons of drug addicts, build homes for rehabilitation. Provide drugs to addicts by prescription. In other words stop all wars, stop all drug traffic, empty the prisons, built hospitals, close military bases and put the military to work building a sustainable infrastructure. Unfortunately, humanity, a massive biomass of mammals who evolved as hunter gathers will probably not figure this out till it is too late.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: