By Marisol Cortez
On Tuesday, July 17th, community members from throughout Central and South Texas answered a national call for the abolition of ICE, moved both by the recent horror of family separation under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy as well as the success of Portland, Oregon blockaders in shutting down an ICE facility in response.
A thumbnail of color in a landscape of sun-bleached beige and grey, Occupy ICE SATX is a small clutch of banner-hung tents erected on a narrow strip of public ground just outside an unmarked ICE processing facility, itself located in a non-descript Northeast-side industrial park.
The principal of the camp is direct action, as elaborated in a statement posted to the Occupy ICE SATX Twitter feed on July 19:
This encampment is not a space to build election campaigns or beg politicians to change a system which we believe is violent to its core. Rather, this camp is an experiment in taking forms of direct, unmediated action that can directly affect the everyday operations of the unjust deportation machine. We hope to demonstrate to others and find ourselves at the capacity to shut down the institutions that hurt us and our community while bypassing the “established” methods that don’t work. It is with each other and mass mobilization on these terms—including a refusal to compromise with the Police and the State, and an unyielding demand for radical change—that we hope to make changes a reality.
Early this morning, the camp had its first successful work stoppage, preventing early morning employees from entering the facility for three hours (see footage here).
A little later that same Sunday morning, Deceleration visited the camp to speak with attendees about the origins of the camp, the centrality of San Antonio to the infrastructure of detention and deportation, and what the camp most needs residents throughout Central/South Texas to know and do:
As Mapache states, the most crucial need is for people to simply come and help grow the numbers at the camp, and the most crucial times to attend are mid-afternoon around 3pm–when detainees are moved in and out of this facility by bus–and early morning, when ICE employees arrive for their morning shifts.
See flyers below as well for upcoming actions at the encampment: