First, they came for the immigrants…

President Donald Trump’s efforts to impose fascism exploded to the surface with the realization that his war on non-white people has escalated with his version of the Nazi SS –  the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – separating children from their parents. Trump’s government has created “Tender Age” detention centers, in other words, prisons. The government has released video of the caged warehouses housing male children, but they have not, as of this writing, released pictures or definitively confirmed the location of the female children. Imagine turning over your teenage daughter over to ICE.

Amazingly, many Americans still support Trump and his racist policies. It appears that the American citizenry is experiencing the same creeping fascism as did Germany in the pre-war years. Children in prison. But not white children. Are gas chambers in our future?

The public outcry, possibly with a little help from the two women in his life, caused Trump to sign an unnecessary executive order to undo what did not require an executive order to create. However, he retained the right to hold immigrant families indefinitely.

The United States government has already dispersed thousands of immigrant children across this land without any method to track and return them to their parents. Some will never be reunited. Frightening news reports claim that immigrant children have been forcibly injected with dangerous psychotropic medications, and have been placed in homes with history of mistreatment.

Private citizens groups will no doubt that the lead in matching children to their parents. The policy against immigrants has been changed but is only slightly less immoral.

On June 19th, ICE raided meat supplier Fresh Mark’s in Massillon, Ohio arresting over 140 people, most to be deported. Earlier in June, ICE raided a garden center in Toledo, removing 114 people for deportation.

The Ohio resistance included a weekly presence outside of the ICE office, sponsored by the Universal Unitarian Church, including a protest over the child separation issue.

Three outraged mothers went to Senator Rod Portman’s office. They were not allowed to see the Senator but they sat down in the anteroom and refused to leave, until escorted out by law enforcement. They were arrested and held for over 20 hours.

Over 150 people protested outside the ICE office on June 20, an action sponsored by the Columbus Sanctuary Collective. Others protested at the ICE detention centers in Morrow and Butler County, and elsewhere in this state.

A national call for “Families Belong Together” rallies across the U.S. on Saturday, June 30 drew over two thousand people who braved the 90-degree heat at the Ohio Statehouse to call for an end to the madness. The mood was not only to vote but to resist.

The demonstrators were of two minds. the majority, working on behalf of the Democratic Party, to create a blue wave around the immigration issue. The others represented a plurality of activists including socialist groups, Food Not Bombs, religious institutions, many other social justice organizations and regular folks who want to defy and resist the Trump administration. Some were calling for direct action, civil disobedience and some to make the United States ungovernable unless Trump backs off on his militaristic border tactics.

The very diverse crowd listened to a number of speakers, many who were experiencing immigration issues, including citing the ominous quotation from the Nazi era:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Though in the Trump era, the difference is that it must change to “First they came for the immigrants…”

The rally culminated in a march around the block. At the intersection of Broad and High Streets some marchers shut down the roads for a short while. Police presence was minimal, the police were surprisingly restrained in their reaction, and the march ultimately continued down West Broad Street to the front of the ICE headquarters in the LeVeque tower. Many of the protestors called for the abolition of ICE and had chants involving "Melt ICE!" and “Crush ICE!"

Another Solidarity Rally to #Abolish ICE is scheduled for July 9 at 9am at the Ohio Statehouse.

Citizens of the world must continue to advocate for immigrant families and those seeking asylum. These people will continue to be victimized by the American Empire as long as Trump is asking for a salute.