In the past 24 hours, national headlines have covered the Wednesday, August 14, 2019 story of a truck driven by a private prison guard driving into a crowd of Jewish migrant solidarity protesters at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island. The facility is currently holding ICE detainees and protesters were staging an action with the national Never Again is Now organization. Here is a segment from The Real News about this:
The horrors of the Immigration-Industrial Complex have triggered a powerful, growing backlash and the media recently has begun focusing on the issue. Meanwhile, grassroots activists have been mobilizing to shut the system down for the past year, something that is being omitted from coverage in national headlines.
Among those at the forefront of the protest movement are BIPOC activists associated with the FANG Collective and the Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance (AMOR) Coalition. (Participate in a Follow-Up Phone Zap of Wyatt Bondholders!)
Here is the speech made by Catarina Lorenzo, AMOR’s director, at a rally that preceded the protest march to Wyatt on Wednesday. She has been a major leader of the campaign all year.
This individual instance is simultaneous with separate and larger campaign that was launched by FANG in August 2018.
Here is a video from last March when Wyatt protests began:
While mainstream news outlets have recently begun to devote more time to immigration, their coverage often is hostile to protestors, who are portrayed as extremists. Their message is that responsible elected officials should take charge of “fixing” abuses and make the Immigration-Industrial Complex more efficient. My goal is to encourage people to participate in protests aimed at shutting down the complex, and to call attention to the groups who have been leading actions at ICE facilities long before most of the media made immigration a top issue.
Furthermore, liberal elected officials are not going to be of much use and there’s no point pretending they are. A case in point is Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo — a 2016 Hillary Clinton super-delegate — who suddenly discovered the Wyatt campaign this week, when she said in a statement to the press, “Our state and our nation were built on the idea that everyone has a right to express their opinion publicly and peacefully. President Trump’s immigration policies are immoral, and these Rhode Islanders were exercising their constitutional right to protest.”
Great, governor, but back in April two activists from Rhode Island were exercising their constitutional rights in Bristol County, Massachusetts and were violently arrested by Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and his deputies for doing so. Raimondo had nothing to say, but now that immigration has erupted as a hot issue, public anger is seething and protests are growing, she has finally chimed in.
The Shut Down ICE campaign is seeking to end 287(g) agreements (click here to find out if your community participates in the 287(g) program) and other measures that allow local law enforcement agencies to directly work with ICE to detain and deport immigrants. The campaign is also seeking to provide Wyatt detainees with legal, medical, financial and religious support. Up until now the Wyatt facility, like other ICE facilities, has refused to allow activists — or in most cases the media or even elected officials — access to the incarcerated so it’s impossible to know what’s really going on inside the building.
Investigations by various police agencies, the Wyatt and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office are commencing shortly. We will continue to cover this story as it develops and bring you the stories the mainstream media is missing and elected officials and law enforcement are trying to keep hidden.
Editorial note 8/26/19: An earlier version mistakenly identified the Shut Down ICE and protests to Shut Down the Wyatt as combined campaigns, which they are not.