Feathered Bastard

Border Patrol, Tucson Police Department Battle Protesters: A Preview of "Shut Down ICE" Day in Phoenix

Should you need to get anywhere fast on the afternoon of Monday, October 14, you may want to avoid driving near Central Avenue and McDowell Road.

That's because the local human rights organization Puente and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network are promising to "shut down" the Phoenix offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at 2305 N. Central Avenue, beginning with a march from Margaret T. Hance Park to ICE around noon.

See, President Obama is closing in on a record 2 million deportations since he took office, and Latinos and pro-immigration activists, many of whom voted for the guy, are pissed.

Read more about Puente's planned shutdown of ICE, and events leading up to October 14.

If you remember the anti-ICE civil disobedience this August in Phoenix, with DREAMers blocking a deportation bus from leaving ICE HQ, you can expect something similar.

According to ThinkProgress, the removal of the undocumented is considered, "Law enforcement necessary for safety of life and protection of property."

So presumably, those busses will keep running during the federal government's closure.

I called ICE's local PIO Amber Cargile for a comment, only to discover that she has been furloughed because of the budget crisis as of the beginning of October.

Activists link arms in attempt to keep the cops and the BP at bay

South of us, the U.S. Border Patrol remains active, as is demonstrated by this video and reports of a spontaneous protest by activists after the Tucson Police Department called the Border Patrol following a routine traffic stop.

The Tucson Weekly reports the following:

Local Tucson Police Department (TPD) officers called Border Patrol on a worker and a loving father--Agustin and Arturo-- Tuesday evening for a minor traffic stop. In response to this SB 1070 injustice, community members surrounded the Border Patrol vehicle locked in arms in order to protest the detention of Agustin and Arturo. The Border Patrol agents rushed-in to break the non-violent circle. About 20 TPD cars and 15 Border Patrol vehicles arrived to the scene. Agents pushed elderly women, threatened youth with tasers, shot people with rubber bullets, and pepper-sprayed community members.

Furthermore, Border Patrol interrogated random people on the sidewalk and took community leader Rosa Leal, even after she showed agents an Arizona driver's license. They also handcuffed and detained local activist Mari Galup.

The Arizona Daily Star offers this account of the incident:

About 7 p.m., two day laborers with the Corazon de Tucson were stopped by Tucson police officers for not having a functioning light on their license plate.

Neither of them had a driver's license or identification and had never been issued one by the state, said Sgt. Maria Hawke, a Tucson police spokeswoman. The misdemeanor triggers a mandatory vehicle impoundment.

State law also required the officers to seek immigration check, prompting the officers to ask the Border Patrol to respond to the scene, she said.

Before long, dozens of activists and community members had gathered outside the church to protest the detention of the two men.

Up to 100 people were there at the peak of the protest, Tucson police estimate.

When a TPD officer encounters someone they suspect of being in the country unlawfully, the cop calls the BP. And since the BP's Tucson Station is headquarters for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, federal agents roll out, STAT.

Find out more about NDLON's campaign Not One More Deportation.

Previously, the TPD has said that it's merely following the dictates of SB 1070, which requires officers to inquire into the immigration status of those they stop, if there is "reasonable suspicion" to believe the person is an alien unlawfully present in the United States.

It's worth noting that within 100 miles of the international border, the BP essentially acts as a national police force.

The Tucson Station of the Border Patrol is 68 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

To borrow a phrase from our Mexican friends, so close to the Border Patrol, so far from god.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons