Protesters blocked the garage doors at the downtown Milwaukee office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for more than two hours on Thursday. The protesters, who were part of the Voces de la Frontera (Voices of the Frontier) group, were acting in response to a number of immigration raids that have taken place recently in the largest city in Wisconsin, during which 49 people were arrested and are now facing possible deportation and other legal action.
Although members of ICE and city officials have insisted that the people who were placed under arrest were all dangerous criminals, the protesters claim that many of those who are now facing deportation are guilty of no other crime than illegally entering the United States.
Voces de la Frontera’s executive director, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, says that the protest was as much about stopping Immigration and Customs Enforcement from being able to carry out additional raids as about responding to those that have already taken place. “This is a pragmatic action, not a symbolic one,” she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re literally shutting down ICE.”
The protest was part of a bigger campaign referred to as Not One More, which is a campaign to protest about deportation by the National Day Labor Organizing Network as the House of Representatives continues to refuse to act on the comprehensive immigration bill. ICE representatives continue to insist that the raids were targeted at “criminal immigrants”, with the aim of improving public safety.