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Vancouver demonstration: Cut budgets of ICE, Customs

A series of demonstrations seeking to reduce the budgets of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection is making its way down the West Coast. On Monday night, it stopped in Vancouver.

About 20 people gathered at Vancouver Waterfront Park to sign a petition banner — titled “Border to Border with Love” — directed at the U.S. House of Representatives. The event was organized by Indivisible Greater Vancouver, Lower Columbia Indivisible, MoveOn Clark County and the League of United Latin American Citizens, according to a news release from the left-leaning activist organizations.

Indivisible chapters from Blaine to San Diego are signing and passing along the banner, according to the release. On Monday, demonstrators signed it and wrote messages in chalk on the waterfront walkway. They then carried the banner to the Interstate 5 Bridge and delivered it to Indivisible members in Oregon.

The chalk messages read, in part, “Immigrants make America great,” “No more raids,” “All in America are Americans,” “Immigrants help our economy ” and “Melt ICE.” Demonstrators were asked to complete the phrase, “My ancestors are from:” and some messages were written in Spanish.

“People should feel welcome. This is a nation of immigrants. That’s the key message,” said Donna Sinclair of Indivisible Greater Vancouver.

After picking up the banner in Chehalis and then holding a demonstration in Kelso, Rebecca Farvour of Lower Columbia Indivisible helped bring it to Vancouver. The idea was to carry the banner from border to border, posting images on social media along the way.

“This was somebody’s harebrained idea that turned out to be a doggone good idea,” Farvour said. “It wasn’t as big of a caravan as we had anticipated, but it was still pretty cool.”

Before local names were scrolled on the banner, the group posed behind it and chanted, “Defund hate.” They also read a statement asking U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, to commit to cutting funding.

“It’s almost like ICE and CBP have this unlimited budget,” Farvour said. “We’re not saying to open the border or close the border. We’re asking people to be aware of what’s happening.”

Karen Morrison, senior director of community outreach consultant with Odyssey World international education services, works with immigrants and refugees. She said she is troubled by policies such as the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“It’s not right,” Morrison said. “As an African American, this is part of my history. This is part of their history as well.”

A final rally is set Sept. 13 in San Diego.


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