Sanctuary in Bushwick amidst ICE Raids

Georgina Hallowell

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The start of President Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid operation has begun. ICE agents plan to detain and deport undocumented people in 10 major cities including Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, and New York. 

MAYDAY Space, a neighborhood resource and organizing center in Bushwick joins forces with its building partners Iglesia de la Santa Cruz and Bushwick Abbey, two congregations part of the New Sanctuary Coalition, to provide refuge against the ICE raids taking place yesterday.  These organizations began to reach out to those in need of refuge and on-site volunteers willing to provide hospitality on social media late Saturday night after ICE agents attempted to raid at least two neighborhoods in New York City, Harlem and Sunset Park. The agents were turned away by residents because they didn’t have warrants. 

Bushwick has a large immigrant community and approximately two-thirds of the foreign-born population remain non-citizens. Being a sanctuary city, the New Sanctuary Coalition created a map of sanctuary congregations and allies. Reverend of Bushwick Abbey, Nell B. Archer says in support of the new coalition both congregations can offer short-term sanctuary for people at risk of being detained by immigration enforcement.

“We have an air conditioner. We can provide food, drinks and ultimately a place where you’re safe. We can also put them in touch with other resources that may be useful to them like lawyers that want to help in these situations,” says Archer.

 MAYDAY has made it its mission to support any social justice that causes political consciousness and education. During this time, they are also trying to get legal help to assist them in their fight for immigrants targeted in ICE raids. 

Following the Trump Administration’s decision to postpone its massive ICE operation three weeks ago, Carrera says we’re in an intentionally made climate of fear.

“In this day and age, there’s a lot of fear mongering. The best way to fight that fear is to show up for our neighbors. Open up the building and say this is a safe place. This is a place where you can come and we’ll be in solidarity with you. We’ll connect you with legal groups, lawyers and just opening the building and letting people come in. We need more of that in New York City, whether you’re a bodega, a 99 cent store or whatever. Open your building up for people to take refuge,” says Carrera.

No matter what your immigrant status is, it’s important to know your rights. See the ICE raids map here.

Below is a list of your rights provided by the American Civil Liberties Union.


If ICE agents show up at your door:

1. Don’t open the door, but be calm. You have rights.

2. Ask what they are there for (and ask for an interpreter if you need one).

3. If they ask to enter, ask if they have a warrant signed by a judge, and if so, ask to see it (through a window or slipped under the door).

4. If they do NOT have a warrant signed by a judge, you may refuse to let them in. Ask them to leave any information at your door.

5. If they force their way in, don’t resist. Tell everyone in the residence to remain silent.

6. If you are arrested, remain silent and do not sign anything until you speak to a lawyer.

If immigration agents come to your place of work:

1. Ask if you are free to leave. If so, you may calmly walk out.

2. You have the right to refuse consent to a search. Say out loud that you do not consent to a search of your belongings.

3. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to discuss your immigration status with anyone, such as about where you were born, whether you are a citizen, or how you entered the country. But if you have valid immigration documents, you should show them. Never provide fake documents.

4. If you’re arrested, say that you wish to remain silent until speaking with a lawyer.

5. You have the right to record your interaction with immigration agents as long as you do not interfere.


Si los agentes de ICE aparecen en su puerta:

1. No abras la puerta, pero mantente calmado. Tienes derechos.

2. Pregunte para qué están allí (y pida un intérprete si lo necesita).

3. Si piden entrar, pregúnteles si tienen una orden firmada por un juez, y si es así, pida que la vean (a través de una ventana o que se hayan deslizado debajo de la puerta).

4. Si NO tienen una orden firmada por un juez, puede negarse a dejarlos entrar. Pídales que dejen cualquier información en su puerta.

5. Si entran por la fuerza, no te resistas. Dígales a todos en la residencia que guarden silencio.

6. Si lo arrestan, permanezca en silencio y no firme nada hasta que hable con un abogado.

Si los agentes de inmigración llegan a su lugar de trabajo:

1. Pregunta si eres libre de irte. Si es así, puede salir tranquilamente.

2. Usted tiene el derecho de rechazar el consentimiento para una búsqueda. Diga en voz alta que no está de acuerdo con una búsqueda de sus pertenencias.

3. Tienes derecho a permanecer en silencio. No tiene que hablar sobre su estado migratorio con nadie, por ejemplo, acerca de dónde nació, si es ciudadano o cómo ingresó al país. Pero si tiene documentos de inmigración válidos, debe mostrarlos. Nunca proporcione documentos falsos.

4. Si es arrestado, diga que desea permanecer en silencio hasta que hable con un abogado.

5. Tiene derecho a registrar su interacción con agentes de inmigración siempre y cuando no interfiera.

Cover images screenshot of ICEwatch.

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