San Antonio's Small Occupy ICE Camp Keeps Braving the Heat

click to enlarge Protestors at San Antonio's small Occupy ICE encampment show off their signs. - SANFORD NOWLIN
Sanford Nowlin
Protestors at San Antonio's small Occupy ICE encampment show off their signs.

A handful of activists have sweat it out for a week in front of a Northeast San Antonio Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility, protesting the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

This afternoon, a dozen college-age protesters, most wearing bandanas over their faces, huddled under a trio of tents in furnace-like heat. A spray-painted banner declaring "Fuck ICE" hung from one pavilion stocked with bottled water and ice chests where a few kids colored and sucked popsicles.

The group gathered Tuesday, July 17, modeled after a similar Occupy ICE group in Portland, said a spokesman who would only give his name as Tecolote (that's "owl" in Spanish). Both groups are calling for ICE's dissolution and to show support for detained immigrants.

"We had a vigil with about 35 people here, and we never left," said Tecolote. However, he conceded that for some stretches, the group's number dropped to as a few as five. The campers cover their faces for fear of harassment, he added.

ICE spokespeople were not available for immediate comment on the protests.

The San Antonio activists sent email invitations to media advising that they planned to stage a "noise protest" this afternoon as a bus delivered new detainees.

But no bus came.
After a few media interviews, the group banged plastic bottles and shouted slogans at the building through a bullhorn. Eventually, a half-dozen uniformed personnel, including three ICE agents with covered faces, made their way through the gates while the activists chanted, "Quit your jobs!"

The personnel asked a pair of photographers sitting on a curb inside the building's parking lot to move to the sidewalk. The pair politely complied, and the chants continued after the agents returned to the building.

Meanwhile, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Monday announced he plans to begin evicting that city's Occupy ICE camp. It's been in place for more than a month, at one time drawing 200 protesters.

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