ICE checkpoints at Netroots Nation

The following is going viral in a big way on the facebook/twitter rounds. Activists at Net Roots (where our own Mamita Mala is!) conducted ICE checkpoints to check for “illegal European immigrants” throughout the conference as a way to demonstrate how the immigration debate is a specifically race based one, how ICE is used to terrify specifically racialized communities, how you could be *doing nothing wrong* and still considered suspect.

I don’t know, I think it’s a good idea–but I also think that I saw too many white people smiling, thinking isn’t this so funny/cute! Here! Here’s my ID! Haha!

It’s a lot different being asked by activists trying to prove a point for your ID than it is being asked by official government agents with their machine guns drawn for your ID. It sorta makes me think of Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez Pena’s series of museum tours where they imprisoned themselves in a cage and posed as “exotic Indians” from a fake country. Some people got it, other people thought it was cute. I wonder how many Native peoples or Latin@s are laughing and smirking their way through ICE checkpoints?

When there is no power in the work to terrify–you are relying as “artists” on irony to make your point, and some people will get irony others won’t. Hopefully in the whitened halls of Netroots, more people got it than didn’t.

What do you think?

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15 comments on “ICE checkpoints at Netroots Nation
  1. Also I think some of the power of the action that might not have been obvious from the video was that four of the “ICE agents” were undocumented youth working every day of their lives to pass the DREAM Act.

    Also I was one of the “ICE agents” in the action, and I have to say as an immigration attorney, the action was a lot of fun for me, but I wish I could have profiled some real live ICE agents! Then it would have come full circle: undocumented youth asking ICE agents for their IDs.

  2. Thanks Macha for holding down the fort here. There will be more videos coming soon that show how some peeps didn’t think it was funny or cute but were offended and got angry.

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  4. Oh, my, really maegan? as in–how dare you question/challenge my authoritah sorta thing?

    oh, dear.

    @dave–yeah, that would’ve been really powerful to know while watching the clips–and also, knowing that people were getting angry–it also makes it sorta scary–how are we/they to know that some angry white guy didn’t call ICE on them?

  5. I have some video footage of some of the checkpoints and helped to conduct them myself and yes, there were even threats of calling the police and dismissals of the intersectionality of the experiences of some of the undocumented young people that were there. Basically people got caught showing their assess and now don’t want the videos released. And as a mujer, it was uncomfy at times the way some of the men dealt with being confronted by the mujeres posing as ICE agents.

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  7. Hey Maegan, I was also one of the “ICE Agents” here and I think it is REALLY important to release the videos of people who got angry or offended. Please do and let us know so we can have an open and frank discussion with those people. Thank you so much!

  8. Of course I remember you Sasha! Hope you returned home safe and sound. I am thinking that more than likely alot of that video will be released by Thursday. Have to check with some peeps I shared clips with so we are not repeating.

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  10. Also Sasha, wanted to add, that one of the people who got offended was approached later by one of the mujeres who participated, an undocumented young woman who wanted to have an open honest discussion about what his perceptions and reactions and she was told that he didn’t like her coming to him with her “woe is me story” and the “ally” cred card. His failure as a true ally came through when he assumed that as a mujer she was a straight mujer and could get married when he as a middle age, gay white male could not. She, had to school him fast that not only was she an undocumented woman, pero she too was not straight.

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