About 30 people gathered Thursday afternoon at the Spokane County Jail to protest a recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at Basin City in rural Franklin County.
The result of the arrests on Wednesday morning brought five immigrants to the county jail, where they await transport to a federal immigration facility in Yakima or Tacoma, said Sgt. Tom Hill, spokesman for the jail. According to the Tri-City Herald, ICE agents arrested workers at their workplace.
Several community members and members of the Peace and Justice Action League and workers at Planned Parenthood gathered with signs in hand and chanted loudly in the direction of the jail cells, in hopes the five detained could hear them.
“No ICE, no KKK, no fascist USA,” they chanted in unison. “When immigrant families are under attack what do we do? Stand up. Fight back.”
Lili Navarrete, a volunteer coordinator at Planned Parenthood who helped organize the protest, said she was there to “demand their release and show them they’re not alone.”
“I am a naturalized U.S. citizen,” she said. “I want to know why our tax dollars are being used on ICE holds.”
The group of about two dozen gathered in front of the courthouse before making its way up a pathway toward the jail, which sits just behind the historic building.
Zack Alexander, 28, was there holding a sign that read “Abolish ICE.” He said he had family and friends who were directly affected by recent immigration changes.
“You shouldn’t be jailing immigrants who come here illegally, which is a misdemeanor, with county resources,” he said.
One woman who worked in Franklin County as a teacher said several of her friends posted on Facebook that the families of the immigrants who were arrested were devastated. She said several were taken early Wednesday morning while they were on their way to a farm, where they worked.
Addressing the crowd, 27-year-old Ingrid Sub Cuc, who immigrated from Guatemala in 2003, said American shouldn’t be preoccupied with blaming people for coming here illegally.
“First of all, no human is illegal,” she said. “It’s not OK what’s happening to families.”
David Brookbank, a local activist, said he was arrested in 2013 while protesting on immigration issues in front of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office. Thursday he asked people in the crowd to call local leaders and demand their tax dollars not be used to house ICE detainees.
Jared Webley, communications manager for the county, said it was a misnomer that county funds were going toward housing immigrants detained by ICE, since they are in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, which contracts with the county. The board of commissioners renewed the contract in January.
“It’s not county resources,” he said. “You could argue it’s federal tax dollars, but it’s not county.”
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