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Activists combine political and direct action to limit ICE’s capacity to detain.

“It’s a story that began nearly fifteen years ago . . .”Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “Celebrating the History of ICE,” 2017. So opens the description of the history of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, an agency created after the September 11 terror attacks with “a unique combination of civil and criminal authorities.”Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “Celebrating the History of ICE,” 2017.

But some are working to curtail ICE’s authority or impede its ability to function. Jurisdictions from Contra Costa County, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, to Hudson County, New Jersey, are cancelling contracts that permit ICE to use their jails to hold detainees.Matt Katz, “County Officials Shutting ICE Out of Local Jails,” NPR, October 14, 2018. But some advocates caution against use of these tactics, warning that ICE, rather than detaining fewer people, would simply hold them farther from their communities and access to counsel.Star-Ledger Editorial Board, “Don't Kill ICE Contracts. Use the 'Blood Money' to Help Immigrants,” NJ.com, September 7, 2018. Instead, these activists say, payments received from federal agencies like ICE should be dedicated to providing services to improve jail conditions and ensure free legal representation.Star-Ledger Editorial Board, “Don't Kill ICE Contracts. Use the 'Blood Money' to Help Immigrants,” NJ.com, September 7, 2018. In other places, like Philadelphia and Portland (Oregon), the #AbolishICE movement staged protests to temporarily close or disrupt facilities.For Portland, see Leah Sottile, “Portland ICE Protest Grows; Demonstrators Seek to Abolish Agency Amid Immigration Crisis,” Washington Post, June 27, 2018. For Philadelphia, see Darryl C. Murphy, “Kenney Meets with Advocates as Abolish ICE Protests Mark One Week,”WHYY, July 9, 2018.