Protesters erect Occupy ICE Sacramento camp downtown

Sacramento Police Department officers survey the scene at the Occupy ICE Sacramento camp in downtown Sacramento on Friday, July 27. [Photo by Dave Kempa]

A group of demonstrators erected an Occupy ICE camp Thursday night outside the building housing Department of Homeland Security offices in downtown Sacramento.

At the end of a demonstration outside of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services building, demonstrators set up 11 tents Thursday on the northwest corner of 7th and N streets in protest of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s treatment of undocumented immigrants.

Protesters Friday morning declined to comment, but literature handed out by the group calls to “end the caging of our community.” Along with denouncing ICE’s treatment of undocumented immigrants, it decries the prison industrial complex, treatment of Native Americans and Sacramento police’s killing of Black men like Stephon Clark and Joseph Mann.

Three Sacramento police officers appeared at the camp Friday morning shortly after 9 a.m., telling the demonstrators that it is illegal to camp within city limits. Under current Sac PD protocol, officers clear homeless encampments 24 hours after giving similar warnings.

Soon after, a woman walking with her children dropped a sleeping bag off for the protesters. Cars honked in solidarity as they passed, with one driver calling out his window in support.

“All good?” he asked.

A woman on a walk with her children drops a sleeping bag off for demonstrators Friday morning at the Occupy ICE Sacramento encampment on N and 7th streets. [Photo by Dave Kempa]

The camp runs on strips of grass between the sidewalk and street along N Street between 6th and 7th streets. As of Friday morning, it included 11 tents (one serving as a makeshift restroom), a food table, a couch and a table with protest literature.

Sacramento Police appear to be approaching the camp with the same protocol that they use for enforcing the anti-camping ordinance against the homeless community.

According to Sac PD’s Linda Matthew, officers contacted the campers Friday morning and offered them resources related to housing and services, which they declined. Officers posted a 24-hour notice, after which they will clear the camp.

VOICES: River City is awaiting a statement from Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s office. [This story will be updated with the mayor’s comment when it is available.]

Tents line the street south of the fence outside the US Citizenship and Immigration Services building in Downtown Sacramento. [Photo by Dave Kempa]

In a press release sent Friday morning, the Occupy ICE Sacramento camp denounced immigration enforcement policies introduced by the Obama administration and expanded by President Donald Trump.

While child cages have largely receded from the media’s focus, over 2,500 children still remain separated from their parents and recent reports indicate this could continue for years,” the statement read.

The release demands that immigrants be allowed to fight their legal cases outside of detention, and calls for an immediate moratorium on all deportations.

Demonstrators are asking Sacramento community members to come out in support. They are also requesting supplies such as chairs, ice, water, food, tarps, tents, sleeping bags, quarters, kitty litter and hot sauce.

They have launched a legal defense fund in anticipation of “bail and legal defense in case of arrest.”

A sign displays social media handles and hashtags related to the Occupy ICE Sacramento demonstration on 7th and N streets in downtown Sacramento. [Photo by Dave Kempa]


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Dave Kempa
Editor at VOICES: River City
Dave Kempa is the founder and editor of VOICES: River City.