Feathered Bastard

Phoenix ICE Building Turns Into Party Zone for Protesters

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(Note: The local spokeswoman for ICE has been furloughed due to the government shutdown. No other spokesperson for ICE could be reached Monday.)

Certainly, the ICE building appeared vacant. Its entrance bore a letter informing the public that the office would be closed from October 11 to October 14, and reopen for business Tuesday, October 15.

Check out NotOneMoreDeportation.com for more info on the campaign of the same name by NDLON and Puente.

As a result, the 300 or so demonstrators from organizations such as the Phoenix human rights group Puente and the California-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network, declared victory following a short afternoon march from Margaret T. Hance Park further south on Central.

To celebrate, they held an impromptu fiesta in front of the ICE structure, with a DJ, dancing, and food.

Banners and signs decrying President Obama's deportation policies hung from ICE's gates. A giant female puppet, her arms outstretched, seemed to symbolically halt ICE in its tracks.

There was a significant police presence. And a handful of hillbilly haters from the roughneck anti-immigrant group Remember 1986 held a counter-demonstration across the street.

Nevertheless, the mood remained celebratory and festive.

"No one's going to be deported from this building today," Puente organizer Carlos Garcia told me. "Even on Christmas, New Year's, any of the federal holidays, people are still processed through this building and deported. So for today at least, we stopped deportations in the city of Phoenix."

Garcia was arrested Friday in Tucson during an action wherein some 20 people stopped two buses of migrants and blocked an entrance to the federal courthouse, briefly halting Operation Streamline, a controversial federal program that prosecutes scores of migrants at a time during mass trials in Tucson and other Southwestern cities.

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