Shut Down ICE: A Campaign to End ICE Agreements in Massachusetts

Every day, Rhode Island community members are detained by local Rhode Island ICE officials and are transported to detention centers in Massachusetts.

In order to support those detained by ICE and their affected family members, The FANG Collective created AMOR’s rapid response “Community Response Team,” which helps organize and mobilize directly-impacted community members, their families, allies, and accomplices during instances of ICE-related violence.

While the Community Response team has mobilized to respond to individual cases, FANG noticed that there was a need to actively resist the agreements between Massachusetts counties and ICE.

Up until January 2019[1], Rhode Island correctional facilities had no formal agreements with ICE, which meant that all of our detained community members were taken to prisons in Massachusetts or New Hampshire[2] with active 287(g) agreements and Intergovernmental Service Agreements (IGSAs) with ICE. Detaining people in Massachusetts make visitations incredibly taxing for family members, most of which are unable to take time off work to make the long trips to these prisons.

The FANG Collective has been pressuring counties in Massachusetts to end their IGSA and 287(g) agreements with ICE. These agreements allow for law enforcement to carry out the duties of ICE officers including, detaining people and separating families. You can read more about 287(g) agreements here.

The Shut Down ICE campaign kicked off in August 2018, with a direct action carried out in solidarity with hunger-striking detainees at the Bristol County House of Corrections in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The action blockaded all vehicle entrances and exits to the prison. Sheriffs responded with violence, injuring two people who had climbed 30-foot tripods. Several people who participated in the initial action at Bristol County are now facing jail time. The Sheriff at Bristol County is Thomas Hodgson, a close friend of Donald Trump who is under investigation for corruption and for the horrendous conditions at the facilities he oversees.

287(g) agreements with ICE allow law enforcement agencies to question people about their immigration status, detain people on immigration charges and carry out the duty of ICE officers. Currently, 80 law enforcement agencies in 21 states have 287(g) agreements with ICE. Every year thousands of people are detained and deported by ICE through the 287(g) program.

These are the Massachusetts counties and agencies with 287(g) agreements:
• Barnstable County
• Massachusetts Department of Corrections

These are the Massachusetts counties with IGSAs:
• Plymouth County

ICE has also recently announced the creation of the Warrant Service Officer program, an extension of the 287(g) program geared towards rural law enforcement agencies and agencies that do not have the resources to fully participate in 287(g). Under this new program, participating agencies can arrest and detain people who have been issued warrants by ICE. The program also exempts cooperating law enforcement agencies from any local or state measures to limit ICE, such as sanctuary city policies. Several Sheriff Departments and other law enforcement agencies have already signed on to the program.

FANG has carried out several actions to pressure these counties to end their collaborations with ICE and has supported detainees who have taken action from the inside. You can read more about our past actions here.

In addition to this campaign work, FANG is a core member of the Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance which is a network of six grassroots groups in Rhode Island that provide community-based services and support for people facing institutional and interpersonal violence.

The FANG Collective is a community organizing and direct action group based in the Northeast. Originally founded to resist fracked-gas infrastructure, FANG has expanded their work to resist the military-industrial complex, support indigenous-led struggles, resist ICE and hold space for healing and just transition work through the Tooth and Nail project.

[1] In January 2019, the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, RI began a new agreement with ICE to detain asylum-seekers affected by the Southwest Zero Tolerance Policy.

[2] Most detained Rhode Island community members are taken to Massachusetts, but a small percentage are taken to New Hampshire facilities.