Several dozen activists blocked access to the front doors of Boston’s Suffolk County House of Corrections on Tuesday in protest of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency’s use of the facility as an detention center.
Positioned in front of a large banner reading “Sin manos no hay obra” (“without hands, there is no work”) activists organized by Movimiento Cosecha, an immigrants rights group launched in 2015, sang and danced while blocking access to the detention center’s front doors.
On a Facebook event page for the protest, Cosecha explained that it is engaged in a “coordinated action against the Deportation System in Massachusetts and across the country,” with Monday’s rally part of an “escalation toward May 1st in Boston,” in which protesters will take to the streets for a “day without immigrants” strike.
The Suffolk County House of Corrections, also known as the South Bay Jail, has long been a target for immigration activists; a 2012 investigation by the Boston Globe found that undocumented immigrants were kept there in secret, without access to legal council. The facility was the site of a similar immigrants rights protest in November 2016.
As Monday’s protest wore on, police arrived and began detaining a number of activists blocking the center’s doors.
“While the realities of raids, repression, and deportations are nothing new for our people, they’ve reached an unbearable boiling point. The time has come for immigrants to transform the political weather,” Rodrigo Saavedra, an organizer with Cosecha, explained in a statement. “Cosecha is planning what could be the largest immigrant strike since the 2006 megamarches. It will be a Day Without Immigrants: We won’t work; we won’t buy; we won’t go to school. Instead, we will rise together, we will march together and, in the absence of our labor and consumption, we will be recognized.”
In an email to Fusion, a representative from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency said: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion peacefully without interference.”