Some 250 people from about a dozen states converged in Arizona late last week for a series of trainings and civil disobedience actions in an attempt to shut down the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Beginning on Friday, activists—many of them undocumented—chained their bodies to deportation buses and blocked the entrance to an immigrant detention facility. The convergence, organized by the Puente Arizona and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), culminated in what was essentially a big party on the driveway of an ICE office building on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Although House Democrats revealed a new comprehensive immigration reform bill two weeks ago, there’s very little reason to believe the bill will even come to a vote. And the president has made clear that he won’t use his executive power to halt deportations, which continue to remove an estimated 1,100 people daily. Still, activists are demanding Obama do something to bring record-setting deportations end.
“If the president won’t take action, and the Congress won’t take action, then the people will,” says Marisa Franco, who works with NDLON. “People will literally put their bodies on the line to stop the deportation machine.” And that’s exactly what they did.