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Activists, Avalos pressure supervisors to back movement to abolish ICE

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Former supervisor John Avalos was among those urging the Board of Supervisors to back a movement seeking to abolish the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency on Tuesday. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

Former San Francisco supervisor John Avalos on Tuesday joined activists in criticizing the Board of Supervisors for a lack of response to Monday’s police raid on activists who blocked a driveway to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices for nearly a week.

The raid on the “Occupy ICE San Francisco” encampment resulted in 39 arrests early Monday morning.

“It’s been pretty alarming this week to see that the resistance that we all purport to support has been taken out [when] the Occupy ICE San Francisco encampment was taken out this week,” said Avalos.

Avalos was one of some two dozen people who spoke out against the police intervention in what they described as an act of civil disobedience in a sanctuary city — a designation that limits San Francisco’s cooperation with immigration authorities— during a Board of Supervisors meeting.

Activists called on city leaders to pass a resolution supporting a growing national movement to dismantle ICE.

SEE RELATED: SFPD arrests 39 Occupy ICE protesters in encampment sweep

Several city supervisors have publicly expressed their support for the call to “Abolish ICE,” but have not taken an official stance on Monday’s raid.

“Your silence speaks volumes,” said Jackie Fielder, co-founder of the Public Bank Coalition, adding that Occupy ICE San Francisco had “successfully halted deportations for a week, only to be betrayed by our local police department, which is not supposed to collaborate with ICE.”

The protesters first set up tents blocking a driveway used for transporting detainees at the agency’s Northern California offices on July 2 in an effort to resist the Trump Administration’s immigration policies. The action was sparked by outrage over a “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in the detention of more than 2,000 immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

SEE RELATED: ‘Occupy ICE’ protesters camp out, call for abolishment of federal agency

As of Tuesday, the Trump administration reported that it was unable to meet a deadline set by a federal judge to reunite some 100 children under the age of 5 with their parents.

Hours after the Occupy ICE San Francisco encampment was dismantled on Monday, tech workers marched alongside community activists in front of Salesforce’s San Francisco headquarters to protest the tech giant’s contract with Customs and Border Control.

Supporters of a city resolution calling for ICE’s elimination also called on The City to divest from banks that “finance private prisons that profit from Family Separation,” and to instead move toward establishing a city-owned municipal bank within five years.

“Big banks, like Bank of America with a lion’s share of The City’s deposits, cannot be trusted to handle our money ethically or responsibly,” said Richard Girling, an organizer with the group SF Public Bank. “They invest in the worst industries — those that run prisons and detention centers, gun manufacturers, fossil fuel companies. They routinely violate laws.”

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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