The Fight to Melt ICE

Abolition for the People

Why We’re Fighting for a World Without ICE

Under the cover of post-9/11 antiterrorism, the Department of Homeland Security has unleashed a carceral assault on immigrant families and children
Published in
9 min readOct 13, 2020

This article is part of Abolition for the People, a series brought to you by a partnership between Kaepernick Publishing and LEVEL, a Medium publication for and about the lives of Black and Brown men. The series, which comprises 30 essays and conversations over four weeks, points to the crucial conclusion that policing and prisons are not solutions for the issues and people the state deems social problems — and calls for a future that puts justice and the needs of the community first.

By Cristina Jiménez Moreta and Cynthia Garcia

Immigrant youth and our families courageously left everything behind in our countries of origin to move to the United States. Some of us fled poverty, military coups, violence, and wars, while others simply wanted to go after a better life. While adapting to a new place, we’ve experienced some of the worst this country has to offer: workplace exploitation, wage theft, racial profiling, fear of deportation, and police violence. But as part of the immigrant youth movement at United We Dream (UWD), we’ve also experienced the power of people coming together, taking action, and winning change.

The seeds of our movement began with the idea that we have to protect and defend our families from deportation and fight for our right to access higher education. In the early 2000s, tens of thousands of undocumented students were graduating from high school each year. All of us lived with the fear of deportation and the looming possibility that our families could be torn apart, while simultaneously facing barriers to college education, exploitation at work, and a future filled with uncertainty.

This fear of deportation was heightened after September 11, 2001, as we witnessed how immigration enforcement and national security were being conflated in new and troubling ways. In the name of fighting terrorism, President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2002, within which immigration and immigrants were…


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UWD is the first and largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation & advocates for the dignity of immigrant families, regardless of immigration status.