Demonstrators protest family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border in downtown Charleston on June 20, 2018 .
Local activists are planning a rally
to call for the break up of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy continues to keep children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Charleston Democratic Socialists of America will demonstrate on sidewalks and public streets outside of the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston this Saturday from 2-4 p.m.
The jail, located at 3841 Leeds Ave., is the only facility in the state with an agreement of its kind with ICE, an agency in the Department of Homeland Security. Under the program, all foreign-born inmates are interviewed by an officer at the time of intake or release.
"We want dignity and freedom for our immigrant brothers and sisters. To that end, we must Abolish ICE!" reads a Facebook event
created for the North Charleston protest. "Al Canon's complicity in ICE's cruelty will not stand in our county, in our cities, or in our communities anymore."
"If the inmate is in the country illegally, he/she will be served an I-247 form and detained for ICE custody," according to the jail's website
. "Custody of the inmate will be transferred to ICE upon completion of local and state charges."
Calls to abolish ICE, the unit charged with rounding up undocumented immigrants across the country, have grown louder following reports from the border on the effects of the Justice Department's "zero tolerance" policy.
On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that those who cross the border illegally will be automatically criminally prosecuted, a move that forces family separation as children — who are not prosecuted — are placed under the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) at facilities like Casa Padre. Close to 1,500 children are being housed there, according to The Washington Post
Immigration cases, especially first-time crossings, were handled as civil matters until recently. Enforcing the new rules has led to 2,342 children
being separated from their parents between May 5 and June 9, according to CBP.
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, introduced a bill to abolish ICE on Monday, according to The Hill
"Unfortunately, President Trump and his team of white nationalists, including Stephen Miller, have so misused ICE that the agency can no longer accomplish its goals effectively," Pocan said in a statement.
During a speech at a church on Thursday, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon called ICE a "terrorist organization."
The Department of Homeland Security and its agencies, including ICE and CBP, are new creations by bureaucratic standards — created in response to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. ICE, for instance, was formed March 1, 2003.
President Trump signed an executive order
last week meant to keep families together as they are detained, though prosecutions will move forward as planned and little has been said about the children currently in CBP custody.