Muriel Bowser

Hundreds Protest ICE Presence in Washington, Rally in Columbia Heights

Saturday's steamy heat did not deter the hundreds of people who rallied in Columbia Heights to protest the ongoing operations of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in Washington, D.C.

The demonstration comes after reports that ICE detained two people last weekend in Northwest D.C. DCist also reported that ICE had interrogated people in Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan.

Attendees called for solidarity, resistance and action from local officials, including Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council, to enforce D.C.'s status as a sanctuary city that does not provide local assistance to ICE.

Bowser has repeatedly said the District is a sanctuary city, but that status has been called into question by the arrests of immigrants in the city and the District's inability to exercise control over courts.

But the District does have policies in place that prohibit the Metropolitan Police Department from asking about residency status and has issued provisional driver's licenses to undocumented residents. Bowser has also previously announced the creation of a legal defesne fund to help immigrants.

Organizers from Sanctuary DMV, a group of volunteers that provide resources and information for immigrants said they wanted to spread the word that they run an emergency hotline 24/7 for any person stopped or detained by ICE. That number is 202-335-1183.

The afternoon protest in the Columbia Heights Plaza centered around the Resonance fountain, where a diverse mix of people chanted slogans like "Shame!" and "No Trump, No Nate, No KKK, No fascist, racist, sexist USA."

Attendees said the ICE activity sparks fear in immigrant communities and their allies.

"It's very scare for me. I'm also, when I'm driving or I'm walking, I'm scared that ICE is coming behind me," Ingrid Vaca said.

Other protesters agreed.

"I'm a DACA recipient, so it feels so good to have people backing up people like myself. Seeing that there is a community deciding to stand against hate," Claudia Quinonez said.

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