July 27, 2018
Several hundred immigration activists gathered outside of 26 Federal Plaza Thursday evening to call attention to the deportation activities of ICE. The event was called by New Sanctuary NYC. Participants filled out faux ICE luggage tags, checking off boxes to indicate what they’d be leaving behind: family, friends, school, etc. The tags were then hung all along the Worth Street side of 26 Federal and a rally, complete with an Occupy Wall Street style mic check sound system, took place on the Foley Square side. After a number of speakers shared, the group marched clockwise around the building, passing DHS police guarding the building.
Across the street a small group of five counter protesters shouted, “thank you, ICE” and held up signs saying “deport illegal aliens” and “Trump 2020.” Directly in front of them stood participants in the month old Occupy ICE encampment taking place in the park. According to one of the group, the NYPD has been harassing them steadily all month and evicting them from the park every night, although it hasn’t broken their spirit. At one point someone charged the counter protesters and snatched away the Trump banner, knocking over the woman holding it. His getaway was cut short seconds later when he ran straight into a clot of police officers who promptly collared him. The woman appeared to be shaken up but not seriously injured.
Along the Foley Square sidewalk were a number of suitcases filled with odds and ends and decorated with pictures and words, all relating to the trauma of deportation. In the park some of the Occupy ICE group’s belongings were lying about. Hoc Ly has been participating in the occupation. He told the Gazette that he was born in Malaysia, in a refugee ‘death camp’ and moved from there to Viet Nam as a little boy. His family came to the USA in 1998 and he became a citizen. He’s lived in New Jersey and traveled all over the country. He said about 20 people, give or take, have been staying in the park since June 26th. Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping told the Gazette, “what we pack in that little suitcase is the love that will take down the wall.”