Why Abolishing ICE Is A Call for Liberation

To our undocumented siblings, we see you, we value you, and we will not remain idle as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violently terrorizes, surveils and disappears you. We affirm the demands uplifted by our undocumented comrades and their allies: all deportation proceedings should stop immediately; all undocumented people in ICE detention should be released; and we must abolish ICE.

Black immigrants and Black undocumented people are our family, friends, and community members, and they are an essential part of DC’s Black history and present. DC has more African-born immigrants than any other major US city: 15 percent of undocumented immigrants in the city are from Africa. In the United States  as a whole, around 25 percent of Latinx people identify as Afro-Latinx. Because Black immigrants are a part of every Black community in America, migration with dignity is an issue that touches all Black people.

And although Black people, all together, make up only 7 percent of undocumented immigrants nationwide, they comprise 20 percent of immigrants facing deportation for criminal reasons. The existing bias against Black people in the criminal justice system, mixed with the state’s hostility towards immigrants of color, creates a uniquely harmful environment for undocumented Black folks.

The recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency raids conducted in DC is one way the United States is escalating human rights abuses against Black and brown people within its borders. As a result, people without legal documentation and their families are forced to live in fear that their lives will be torn apart at any moment for any reason, and often, for no reason at all.

ICE is an extension of a violent state that under-invests in the wellbeing of communities while funneling resources to surveillance, incarceration, and brutality. ICE—and the entire police state— must be abolished. We must work to live up to our values of community and the right to a safe life free from intimidation and violence. We must work to preserve measures like TPS, a policy granting full legal protection to people (including many Haitian and Somali refugees) fleeing violence in their countries— violence resulting from poor infrastructures put in place by white colonial powers, violence that targets identities that push against norms, violence that jeopardizes many people’s right to life.  

This administration, under the helm of a white nationalist president, is presiding over inhumane human rights abuses against immigrants, undocumented people, asylum-seekers, and their families. As a sanctuary city, DC must do more to protect these members of our community and keep them safe. We call on:

(1) Mayor Bowser to act in her full duty as an elected official to foster safety in a spirit similar to Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau by protecting those she serves. End ALL contact between MPD and ICE and restore DC’s status as a true sanctuary city.   

(2) Allies of people without legal documentation to respond in community by:

  • Familiarizing yourself with work being done by Black immigrants via organizations like UndocuBlack, BAJI, and Mijente
  • Calling the Mayor Bowser Administration at (202) 724-8052 to ask her to uphold her promise as a DC elected official to protect people and their families living in DC without legal documentation. Tell her to do this by ending ALL contact between MPD and ICE and restoring DC’s status as a true sanctuary city
  • Emailing CAIR Coalition,  Ayuda CARECEN, and MLOV  to volunteer your time, help answer phones, staff jail visits, or be an attorney willing to represent people pro bono
  • Volunteering with the DC Center’s Center Global to support and house LGBT asylees and asylum seekers in DC
  • Getting trained in rapid response by visiting Sanctuary DMV

And to our undocumented siblings in the DMV, we love you and will continue to support you. CAIR Coalition,  CARECEN , and Casa Ruby are a few resources available that can help provide services such as pro-bono lawyers, direct services in immigration, housing and citizenship, and bilingual multicultural LGBT services to you.


—  written by Darya Nicol and Samantha Master
— edited by Dominique Hazzard and Jordan DeLoach
Organizers at BYP100 DC and MelaNation

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