Anti-ICE rally held at Dodge County Jail
JUNEAU -- Protesters from Madison rallied outside of the Dodge County Jail Saturday afternoon demonstrating against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
The nearly 20 protesters sounded air horns, pounded on makeshift drums and smashed metal garbage can lids together making noise and chanting from the Henry Dodge Office Building to the Dodge County Jail, where they wanted those housed inside the detention facility to hear them.
The Dodge County Jail contracts with ICE as a detention facility.
“We want to raise awareness to the fact that ICE facilities are not just along the border,” said Luke Eckenrod, protest organizer. “It is something that Wisconsin residents should be aware of and care about as U.S. citizens.”
Eckenrod also said the protest was to show the government is continuing to waste resources on harassing undocumented residents.
“We want to see ICE abolished,” he said. “We are also calling for ceasing of the detention and deportation of all undocumented immigrants followed by the immediate legalization of all undocumented immigrants with full rights of U.S. citizenship.”
ICE, which was created in 2003, is a law enforcement agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE has two primary components -- Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations.
While the Democrats in Washington want to see ICE abolished, Republicans want to stop illegal immigration and see ICE as a tool in aiding those efforts.
“The goal today is to let ICE know they are not welcome to operate anywhere in our state,” said John Cook, who helped to organize the protest with Eckenrod. “This is something that has been going on for a long time and now the political will to do something about ICE is going. We recognize that the circumstances are extreme. It’s not like the issue has suddenly become extreme. It has been extreme for a long time, but it is becoming harder and harder for people to ignore.”
Jonathan Bartnik, who was one of the protesters, said he joined the group to take action against ICE.
“So many people come to the border without documentation and they are vulnerable to exploitation by employers and police. We need a much more open immigration policy. ICE is employing fascist tactics,” Bartnik said. “They are taking people from work. They are taking people from their homes. I showed up to highlight the fact this is happening in our backyard of Wisconsin and to make sure people know this is not happening in California, New York and Texas, but right here in Wisconsin and let ICE know that we are aware it is going on right here and we’re not going to sit idly by while they disappear people across the country.”