News & Politics

ICE Is Aggressively Targeting Activists Who Speak Out Against It

Alejandra Pablos is the latest progressive activist to be targeted.

Alejandra Pablos
Photo Credit: Alejandra Pablos / Facebook

According to a report by Rewire News, a Latina activist was detained this week after she visited the Immigration and Customs office in Tucson, Arizona. The report noted that the check-in had been planned and scheduled in advance, but when activist Alejandra Pablos came to the office, she was detained by ICE agents. People close to Pablos point to her activism as the possible reason behind her detention.

Pablos, who is affiliated with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), also works for the pro-choice program "We Testify," which shares stories and accounts of abortion access through the National Network of Abortion Funds. NLIRH condemned her detention and released a statement Wednesday, saying, "Our hermana en la lucha and poderosa Alejandra was detained in Arizona earlier this morning by ICE. Alejandra is a powerful immigrant and reproductive justice organizer who has done incredible work for the Latinx community in Arizona and Virginia."

On Facebook, a video of Pablos circulated among her allies in which she says that ICE misled and detained her at the Tucson office. She claims that ICE is "trying to really separate me and tear our movement apart, tear our community apart, and I’m not letting that happen." Pablos is originally from Mexico. Splinter News wrote that her activist background could put her in a precarious situation if she is deported. In April 2017, the Nation published a report on the dangers Mexican activists face after deportation.

Pablos story isn't unique. Under Donald Trump's increased ICE operations, activists such as Maru Mora Villalpando, Eliseo Jurado, Jean Montrevil, and Ravi Ragbir have been targeted, according to the Detention Watch Network. According to NLIRH, which spoke with Rewire News, these arrests point to a deliberate pattern of intimidation, harassment and isolation by the U.S. government. "Detainment is also evidence of ICE’s pattern of singling out immigrant leaders for being outspoken and fearless community mobilizers. In recent months, ICE detained prominent immigrant activist Maru Mora-Villalpando for her 'extensive involvement with anti-ICE protests and Latino advocacy programs,'” NLIRH said. 

In her Facebook video, Pablos implored viewers to show solidarity against the ICE crackdowns. “[ICE is] retaliating against all activists,” she said, “all organizers, people who have advocacy and who are out there fighting. I need you to stand up for me. I need you to fight for me. As I’m fighting inside, you can fight outside.”

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Mehreen Kasana is a news writer. Previously, she worked as the front-page editor for the Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @mehreenkasana.