Seven open-borders activists were arrested after trying to disrupt a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) processing facility Monday night in South Florida while another group of leftists picketed the company that owns the facility for being “profiteers.”
According to local reports, two of the protesters used bike locks to affix themselves to a gate at the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach, Florida, Broward County’s main immigration detention facility. Another two drove a private car spray painted with “NO ONE IS ILLEGAL” and “Abolish ICE” into position to block ICE agents’ vehicles from another entrance and then chained themselves to the car.
An Antifa Twitter account linked to a donation page set up by protest organizers to raise money for seven of their activists, whom they claim were arrested. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the seven arrests figure to a local CBS affiliate. Photos on the page reveal at least one “Antifa Circle” symbol along with a sign reading “no one is ‘illegal’ on stolen land!”
Support for open borders, however, was not the only motivation for attempting to obstruct this particular ICE facility. As one left-wing site promoting the action noted, the location was also selected as part of the far-left’s campaign against the “profiteers” of immigration enforcement. Broward Transitional Center is owned and operated by GEO Group, a private corrections company that is one of ICE’s largest contractors.
Geo Group spokesman Pablo Paez said in a statement that the activists’ actions were “misguided and based on a mischaracterization of our role as a long-standing service provider to the federal government” and that they “totally ignore the fact that we have absolutely no role in setting immigration policy nor have we ever advocated for or against immigration enforcement or detention policies.”
Paez also addressed participants at both rallies concerns over “children in cages.”
“The facilities we manage on behalf of the federal government have never housed unaccompanied minors,” he said in a statement. “For over three decades, our company has managed ICE Processing Centers providing services for adults, and we have managed the Karnes Family Residential Center, which has cared exclusively for mothers together with their children since 2014 when it was established by the Obama Administration. … Members of our team strive to treat all of those entrusted to our care with compassion, dignity, and respect.”
Some of the same left-wing groups that attempted to obstruct ICE agents in Pompano Beach also organized a protest at the construction site of GEO Group’s headquarters in nearby Boca Raton. These included Black Lives Matter and Democratic Socialists America, whose most famous member, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, won the Democratic primary in New York’s Tenth Congressional District last month.
In a video reviewed exclusively by Breitbart News, at least one protester at this second event is seen carrying materials from the International Socialist Organization, a Trotskyite group. Also visible are people with vests identifying themselves as “legal observers” from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG, a group with a long history of links to communism and the radical left) telling participants not to talk to the local man who took the video.
Some, however, expressed their reasons for supporting open borders. “When you draw that line between good and bad immigrants, no matter how many or how few people you leave on the other side of that line, it’s a problem,” the Trotskyite attendee said.
“Make it legal, and give them citizenship, and thank them for coming, and make them a part of our community, and be glad that they want to be here,” a different participant said when asked what should be done with people caught crossing the U.S. border illegally.
That protester was less sure if he wanted to “Abolish ICE,” saying, “I really need to study that issue more in depth. … friends were posting about this on Facebook, so I showed [up] because they’re people who I agree with on a lot of stuff and I wanna get more involved.”
In many areas, like Broward County, privately run facilities are the main places in which ICE houses detained aliens. Geo Group and other similar corrections firms have been become targets of the open-borders left as they increasingly fit into Trump administration plans to expand the range of ICE detention facilities. For example, GEO is facing a lawsuit on its payment of the federally mandated prison wage ($1/hr) for the voluntary work its immigration detainees may do.
According to a post on their fundraising page Tuesday, the activists arrested for trespassing at the Broward were released from jail that afternoon. “We are anticipating heavy fines for the activist who sacrificed their personal vehicle to block the gate at BTC, as well as court costs etc for all 7,” the post explains.