Phoenix's independent source of
local news and culture
December 11, 2008
FIRE's video of its December 4 "ICE raid."Check the graphic at the end. FIRE melts ICE, get it?
Well, here's a man bites dog story, if there ever was one. Seems that on December 4, several orange jumpsuit-clad members of FIRE, which stands for "Flagstaff Immigrant Rights Enforcement," delivered a "notice of deportation" to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement management meeting taking place at the Flagstaff Radisson Hotel. Judging by the stony silence of the ICE honchos present, the FIRE raid was expertly executed and took the meeting's participants completely by surprise.
As you can see in the above YouTube video the activists shot, save for FIRE agent "Del Fuego" -- the professionally clad gal who reads the notice of deportation as she hands it out to the stunned ICE members -- the rest of the FIRE folks were dressed like DEVO used to back in the day. Minus those weird red hats. One of them carried a jumbo-size deportation order. Others hung back near the door, holding up a banner that read, "Stop ICE Terrorism."
After agent Del Fuego finishes with the reasons for deportation, which are repeated below in FIRE's press release, she asks for one of the ICE officials to sign the notice. Not surprisingly, no one takes her up on her offer, so she just leaves it on the table in front of one ICE guy.
Generally, the ICE people took the whole thing in stride, as if it had happened to them a thousand times before. You can tell that a couple of them are smirking as Del Fuego reads. However, one fat ICE dude in a referee shirt was not amused, and loudly crumpled a copy of the deportation order he has in front of him, just as the FIRE crew is exiting.
Though the entire prank was over in a couple of minutes, was entirely nonviolent, and actually quite amusing, you've got to wonder about a federal law enforcement agency that fails to secure its own meetings, post-9/11? What if these FIRE activists had been less Monty Python and more Weather Underground, if you catch my drift?
The FIRE press release does make some excellent points about ICE's less savory activities --the breaking up of families, the racial profiling that occurs, especially under the 287(g) program, etc. In fact, I can almost hear John Lennon singing now, "Imagine there's no ICE...It's easy if you try." Actually, I can envision a much pared-down ICE, which focuses on the removal of actual criminals in the U.S. illegally, not just poor sods who've come here to feed themselves and their kids.
Asked to comment on the reverse raid, ICE spokesman Vinnie Picard didn't give any indication that ICE was troubled by its collective punking by FIRE.
"We had a fugitive operation in Flagstaff a couple of weeks before that certainly got a lot of attention, especially from the activist groups up there," said Picard. "And there was no enforcement associated with this meeting, they were just having an off-site meeting, just kind of getting away from the office. So in that sense, it really wasn't an interruption of our operations, but it has provided for some ribbing, I'm sure, from their coworkers."
Still, the fact that more than one of the ICE agents cover up or turn over some of the paperwork before them gives one the inkling that some of that info must have been sensitive. In any case, all that's come of it is a little embarrassment for ICE. Embarrassment these ICE agents could have avoided if they'd, um, locked the door.
The FIRE communique follows. I dig the line about how some of the ICE agents "appeared to possibly be illegal immigrants themselves, as they were not Indigenous People." Heh. Fun-ny.
Flagstaff Immigrant Rights Enforcement Communique
Thursday, December 4th, 2008
FIRE Raids ICE Management Meeting, Delivers Notice of Deportation of ICE from Flagstaff
Flagstaff. AZ -- At approximately 10AM on Thursday December 4th, Flagstaff Immigrant Rights Enforcement (FIRE) confronted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a daring raid, serving a notice of deportation to ICE representatives at an ICE Management meeting. FIRE agents pinpointed the location of the ICE management meeting at the Flagstaff Radisson Hotel in the Kaibab Meeting Room and staged the raid. FIRE agent Del Fuego read the notice of deportation to more than 15 ICE associated criminals, some of whom appeared to possibly be illegal immigrants themselves, as they were not Indigenous People. Agent Del Fuego called for the immediate withdrawal of ICE from the Flagstaff community and notified ICE of the cease and desist order for all future raids.
FIRE will continue supporting and enforcing immigrant rights where they are violated with the exception of established immigrant "settlers" or "colonizers" who have been benefitting from the exploitation of Indigenous People's lands. In addition, locations believed to be harboring ICE criminals, associates, and illegal settlers on indigenous lands can expect future FIRE raids. FIRE has credible intelligence that ICE absconders use condominiums, country clubs, law enforcement facilities, steakhouses, stretch limousines, luxury hotels, beach resorts, ski resorts, martini bars, intelligence facilities, etc., as bases of operation. These settlers will be brought to justice. No human is illegal.
NOTICE OF DEPORTATION:
Notice served on this, the 4th day of December, 2008 by Flagstaff Immigrant Rights Enforcement (FIRE) for the immediate deportation from the Flagstaff area of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and officials.
FIRE charges ICE with the following activities deemed criminal and in violation of human rights. These activities include but are not limited to:
Terrorizing entire communities resulting in the destruction of over 34,000 families within the last year alone, including most recently, 16 persons within the immediate Flagstaff area.
Causing fear that has extended into the hearts of our community's children, who, due to your presence, live in constant trauma of returning to an empty home.
Taking no meaningful measures to ensure the well-being of those impacted by family members' deportation.
Perpetuating institutionalized racism and practicing racial profiling.
Aiding and abetting border militarization on both sides of the US-Mexico border.
Creating and upholding the myth of "illegal human beings".
Enforcing and benefitting from a global economic system that criminalizes labor and creates deathly low wages.
Enforcing immigration policies on borders drawn on indigenous lands.
Misappropriation of taxpayer funds for aforementioned terrorist activity while education, health care, and housing services collapse.
About FIRE - Flagstaff Immigrant Rights Enforcement is established to take direct action in solidarity with communities impacted by ICE raids. We do not represent anyone or any groups other than ourselves and our actions. FIRE is an independent agency and can be made up of anyone fighting for human rights and the abolition of ICE terrorism. LET'S TURN UP THE HEAT ON ICE!
Joe Arpaio's Lawyer Tim Casey Claims Court Lacks Power to Appoint Monitor with Power over Sheriff
By Stephen Lemons
DREAMers Besiege ICE, Six Arrested for Acts of Civil Disobedience
Bill Montgomery's Ex-Ally Chris Simcox May Score Plea Deal in Child Molestation Case
Join the New Times community and help support
independent local journalism in Phoenix.
Get the latest updates in news, food, music and culture, and receive special offers direct to your inbox.
Become a member and go ad-free!