Documents reveal that the immigration enforcement agency has been keenly attuned to left-leaning protests in the city.
In the late summer of 2018, as protests against the Trump administration’s immigration policies intensified and the movement to abolish ICE gained momentum, the federal agency at the center of the storm was keeping tabs on a series of “anti-Trump protests” in New York City, according to documents obtained by The Nation via a Freedom of Information Act request. Among the protests the agency tracked were several promoting immigrants’ rights and opposing the administration’s deportation policies as well as one protesting the National Rifle Association. One event was organized by a sitting member of Congress.
On the balmy evening of July 31, 2018, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, a Democrat who represents parts of northern Manhattan and the Bronx, organized a rally at Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan to protest the white-supremacist group Identity Evropa. Just a few days earlier, a gang of Identity Evropa members had gathered at the very same park to unfurl a racist, anti-immigrant banner from a bridge there. “Stop the Invasion,” the banner had read. “End Immigration.”
Identity Evropa’s action was an affront to the local community, Espaillat says. The rally he organized in response, which was titled “Uptown Standing Together Against Racism and Xenophobia,” was meant to counter the group’s hateful message. Espaillat’s district includes a robust immigrant presence, many from his native Dominican Republic, and he himself is among the first formerly undocumented immigrants to serve in Congress.