by Alicia Torres

Early this afternoon word started spreading that residents of western NC are in fear of driving because ICE was present in the area. By 1:30 pm word was out that at least 20 people had already been picked up. According to those in the local area, ICE is stopping people on the way out of Cashiers, near the Wal-Mart in Sylva, and in Dillsboro – even stopping people as they are walking. At the roadblocks, police are asking for everyone’s IDs not just the driver’s license of the driver, which is the norm.

This attack on the undocumented community of western NC can only lead us to conclude that we, the undocumented community, cannot expect any sort of relief from the current Obama administration. Furthermore, it should alert us all that we need to develop a vigilant eye for the spread of ICE activity in our state.

We must look out not just for ourselves but for each other. According to western NC residents, they had never before witnessed as much ICE activity as today. And my gut is telling me that such intense activity will only spread into other areas of North Carolina. After all, our state has always been a testing ground for Department of Homeland Security programs such as Secure Communities and 287-g.

The painful aftermath of being picked up or having a loved one picked up by ICE may be experienced by 20 or more families in Western NC today. Such open attacks on our undocumented community are clear efforts to intimidate and instill fear in our communities and sow future seeds of injustice.

But WE, the undocumented community, should not back down from this attack; instead I invite you to fight back! Let’s fight back for ourselves, our families, and our right to a life free of fear of ICE and police intimidation. Let’s fight back against the injustices that seem to always accompany the presence of ICE in our communities.

I invite you to take pictures, to record (via phone or whatever medium), to write, and, above all, to make public whatever ICE is doing in your community. We have to be proactive in the change that we want to see. We have to hold Obama accountable for his attack on our undocumented communities. But we have to do it together, and everyone has to play their part.

Again, I ask you to keep a vigilant eye out for ICE activity and any possible injustice and publicize them.  And you can also always contact us, NC DREAM Team.

image by Steve Pavey

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