SFPD Raids Occupy ICE Encampment

In the middle of the night, and one week after protesters set up a barrier to block ICE's San Francisco office from detaining immigrants, police arrested 39 people and dismantled the camp.

Demonstrators protest the Trump Administration’s immigration policies outside the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday, July 2, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

While everyone else was asleep late Sunday night, San Francisco police dismantled a nearly weeklong encampment to Occupy ICE.

Just after 1 a.m., Occupy ICE SF tweeted that the camp at 630 Sansome St. was being raided and that they needed additional support. In the end, 39 people were arrested for lodging in public, and 10 of those were also cited for resisting arrest, San Francisco police confirmed Monday morning. Everyone was later released.

Police said they received numerous complaints of health hazards, including noise and cooking with open flames. The calmer holiday week meant the encampment blocked less traffic than it ordinarily might have, undoubtedly a factor in that clearing it Sunday night coincided with the return to regular traffic on Monday morning.

Some protesters were harmed, with at least one reported dislocated shoulder or elbow. Police spokesperson Officer Robert Rueca confirmed that two women were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries but declined to give additional details.

Major action against the local ICE office began at the Families Belong Together march on June 30, when an estimated 30,000 people rallied against the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The order to separate children from their parents at the border may have been reversed, but immigrant families have long been split apart by deportations and detentions.

On Monday, July 2, hundreds kept the momentum going by protesting at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at 444 Washington St. and blocked its parking lot with a makeshift wall complete with barbed wire. Around 35 people were found holding down the fort by the next morning, intentionally interfering with the agency’s work.

“We don’t want to interrupt the activities of immigrant families who want to get green cards, or advance their ability to stay in the country,” a protester named Michael said. “But this building is also an ICE facility, and sometimes buses come in with people who’ve been detained in other parts of California.”

Occupy Wall Street blossomed into a movement in 2011 but has been largely dormant since 2015. Its message has been far from lost with tangible offshoots like Rolling Jubilee, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution and the rising popularity of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Encampment protesters have vowed to continue the fight with a series of actions this week. A protest at Salesforce began at 10 a.m. Monday to target their aiding of the Border Patrol, and it will resume outside the Grand Hyatt on Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

They are also targeting SFPD Police Chief Bill Scott by calling his office during business hours to decry the raid, and demanding that the Board of Supervisors pass a resolution to abolish ICE during their regular meeting on Tuesday.

“Politicians are now paying lip service that ICE needs to be abolished, but we’re not going to believe them until they do something concrete, like remove their funding,” Michael said. “It’s within their power to do that. It’s within our power to block a driveway for a while. So that’s what we’re going to do.”

The encampment is just one local flashpoint in the national immigration debate, with politicians facing continuous pressure to protect undocumented immigrants. With the focus on ICE in recent months, San Francisco may have to walk the walk to live up to its sanctuary-city status.

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