Around 60 activists of all ages bearing large black banners reading “no raids” and “immigration policy is a crime” and photos of children killed in detainment camps stood silently in a square in the middle of the World Trade Center’s Oculus on Thursday, protesting Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
“No raids! Close the Camps! Abolish ICE!” was a silent vigil for asylum seekers killed while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and in detainment camps. It was orchestrated by the organization “Rise and Resist” as a reaction to the Trump administration’s severe crackdown on illegal immigration and the influx of ICE raids across America, including in New York.
The goal of the event was to draw attention to recent U.S. anti-immigration policies, particularly the separation of families in U.S. detainment camps, “Rise and Resist” co-organizer Robert Croonquist said.
“Asylum is an international human right and we are violating that human right,” Croonquist said.
He added that the group was protesting the unsanitary medical conditions within many immigration holding facilities.
Sean Stefanic, a protestor and co-organizer of the direct action group “Gays Against Guns,” advocated for more humane policies and stressed the importance of holding the protest in a heavily populated area.
“No one can ignore [the protest],” Stefanic said. “If you see it, then you really see it. If any [U.S. citizens] entered another country and were treated like that, we would wage war.”
Bella Prete, a protestor and a first-year at the Fashion Institute of Technology, said that she wanted to make the many passersby aware of the gruesome details at the border.
“Rise and Resist” is a direct action group formed in response to the 2016 election, focused on influencing policy through civil resistance. It meets Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m. at “The People’s Forum” at 320 W. 37th St.
“We try to reach the imagination of the public to influence the changes we would like to see,” Croonquist said. “A small group of people capturing the imagination can trigger a larger group of people to believe in something.”
The group will be staging the same protest in Washington Square Park on Oct. 10, “Rise and Resist” co-organizer Livvie Mann said.
Email Lisa Cochran at [email protected]