Nationalist Policy and Resistance: US Immigration


By Ricky Murphy


Bay Area Youth Project taking action in an anti-ICE demo circa 2008 (Credit:
Bay Area Youth Project taking action in an anti-ICE demo circa 2008 (Credit: 

Many immigrant communities in the U.S. are currently in a state of panic. They have been forced to live under a repressive state for a long time; a state that has always carried nationalistic underpinnings within its policies toward borders and security. However, in this neoliberal era, corporate maximizing of profits is king. Many undocumented workers in the 50 states hold up the backbone of the country’s agricultural and contracted construction sectors. 52 percent of U.S. agricultural laborers are undocumented (Holmes). Many of these workers are not covered by labor protection laws and therefore can be exploited severely. Therefore, the actions carried out by the state in past few decades has been to fiscally oppress and insight fear, lowering immigrants arriving from Latin America even further down the U.S. caste system, making them a prime target for capitalist exploitation, and intensify deportations.

Deportation rates began to rise dramatically under the Clinton administration; at the same time NAFTA was destroying local economic structures in Mexico, forcing many to seek jobs north of the border. Deportations continued in the BUsh and Obama eras. There are signs that the Trump administration may prioritize white nationalism over maximizing corporate profit.

Analyzing Immigration policy in the Neoliberal Era


Where the Trump administration might differ

It has never appeared to be the intent of the U.S. government to enact deportation policies that are indicative of full fledged nationalism. The objective has been to exploit rather than to cast out, using deportation as a means to maintain a quantitative equilibrium and as a weapon, casting constant dread among those who do not have papers that they may feel the full force of the state. This strategy makes it much more difficult to organize in communities and unionize in workplaces. There are signs that the Trump administration may prioritize white nationalism over maximizing corporate profit. Everyone knows that this was the rhetoric of the campaign; however the rhetoric of Obama’s 2008 campaign was one of equal opportunity and his policies in no way reflected those sentiments.

ICE encroaching on someones home in Atlanta, GA, February 2017 (Credit:

I think you have to take a tough look at the Trump administration compared to the Bush regime. You could make the argument that there are more ideologues in Trumps cabinet, at least different types of ideologues. Bush’s team came from milton friedman’s doctrine of free market fundamentalism. They were power hungry right wing corporate profiteers that strove for US global hegemony, and expansion of empire. I believe, even though they used christian supremical/xenophobic propaganda to develop their base, they were not inherently white christian ideologues. Mike Pence is absolutely a christian supremacist, not only does he use it for political talking points; he has fundamental beliefs of that aline with christian dogmatism. Steve Bannon is emphatically a white nationalist. The president appointed Julie Kircher to head the Border Patrol Agency; Kirchner has worked closely with John Tanton a eugenicist and white nationalist while at far right a “immigrant reform” group FAIR.

Mr. Trump does not appear to be an ideologue, though he is extremely stubborn; So if he said he would do something during the campaign, no matter how far fetched, he might want to push for it, and according to the analysis of Noam Chomsky his mind “for all we know is fairly vacuous” ; when you have members of cabinet who are ideologically white supremacist, they might push for fascist policies as well, even if they do not perfectly overlap with neoliberalism. That is to not say that their is not corporate incentives in the business of building new detention centers or the expansion of police force; I am making a hypothesis that the this administration might be different, in that theses reasons of profit are not always top priority. The Bush administration knew very well how they could get public opinion on their side, at least enough to not appear to be constantly acting in opposition to the american public. Keeping the dirty work of maintaining an empire overseas is a very clever maneuver. There is a plethora of tools at the disposal of the government to manufacture consent. The fact that Trump continues to de-legitimize the slightly less right wing leaning media outlets seems idiotic.

Obama and the 287(g) program


“Obama killed the task-force model but kept the jail model. Trump’s executive orders suggests he is bring back both models of the 287(g) program”(Gonzalez, D.)


This chart shows yearly Us deportation rates over the past 50 years (Credit:
This chart shows yearly Us deportation rates over the past 50 years (Credit:

The previous administration held feel good rhetoric of America being a country of immigrants and welcoming all to their shores. The Obama administration deported more people than any other previous presidency. President Obama only offered some minor reform when he amended the 287(g) program to minimize the task force model of deputizing local police departments collaborating with federal agents to find, arrest and deport. However, the jail model, remained in full force. The jail model encourages police to share documentation intel with feds once an individual is in custody, regardless of the allegations against them. There were however, some clear drops in deportations from his first six years in office (around 400,000 a year) to his last two in office (around 240,000 a year). The Trump administration has mobilized to deputize and re-deputize state and local police, reinstating the task force model, only as a starting point.

ICE, DHS and the expansion of powers

ICE’s problematic criteria (good migrants and bad migrants) 

A protestor at a rally in Seattle holding up a sign that reads "Free Daniel". Daniel Ramirez Medina was taken into custody by ICE who claims he is "gang affiliated"(Credit: The Stranger)
A protestor at a rally in Seattle holding up a sign that reads “Free Daniel”. Daniel Ramirez Medina was taken into custody by ICE who claims he is “gang affiliated”(Credit: The Stranger)


ICE has used problematic criteria to detain people based on gang involvement. Their criteria uses profiling to trap people in their department of injustice. Criteria into the ICEGangs database (Winston, A.)To examine these one by one: 1. Subject to frequent areas notorious for gangs, many areas where gangs mobilize are in very low-income neighborhoods, and or places with large POC populations. This is saying that everyone is a suspect in these neighborhoods. 2. Subject has been identified as a gang member through a reliable source. ICE would be able to coerce, intimidate, and flat out make up a source; or they could find an unreliable source. 3. Subject has been arrested in the company of other gang members. So if there are forms of resistance that happen like in Ferguson and their are mass arrests, if their are gang affiliates within the group, everyone is a suspect to be apart of that gang. 4, Subject has been identified as a gang member by a jail or prison. Many people need to affiliate themselves with a gang while in prison in order to survive; also I don’t believe that the mass incarceration system would be that reliable of a source. 5. Subject has been seen wearing distinctive gang style clothing. Once again they are targeting specific sub-cultures of oppressed people. Many people walk around with bandanas and saggy jeans.

Expanded authority of DHS

As of February 21st the Trump administration took major steps in implementing their totalitarian immigration policy. “Priority deportation” is effectively dead. Department of Homeland Security now only needs “suspicion” of a crime to arrest, detain, and deport people without documentation. The state language for “suspicion” is not one of judicial review, an agent on duty in a given moment can make that call with full authority. They are expanding “expedited removal”, which means deportation without trial. On the flip side of expediency, a the administration has advised an expansion of current detention facilities, and new ones to be built. The government has already targeted people who have used fake SS numbers to simply survive,  such as Garcia de Rayos mother who was living in Arizona. She has had periodic meetings with ICE officials for 4 years. The first one she had under the new administration has ended with her deportation.


Mark Rosenbaum: Medina’s lawyer, “What began, I thought, as a mistake in bringing Daniel in has turned into one of the most serious examples of governmental misconduct that I have come across in my 40 years of practice” (Winston, A.)


They have also targeted those who fall under the DACA protections. Daniel Ramirez Medina who as of this writing is being held at the NorthWest Detention Center and awaiting removal proceedings. The case is highly disturbing and shows that no one is safe. There has been allegations of evidence tampering on behalf of the feds, to make it look like Medina is apart of a gang. They used abusive intimidation tactics to get what they ultimately wanted, some form of admittance. Punishing people for gang membership is obviously problematic in itself and addressed elsewhere. The 23 year old has what the feds called a “gang tattoo”; his arm reads “La Paz BCS”, which is referring to a local in Baja California, La Paz, by the way also means peace. The expansion of powers also no longer protects families that have been in service to the US military.

Capitalist Expansion Through Detention

This chart shows Geo Group inc. stock trend over the past year, 2016-2017 (Credit:
This chart shows Geo Group inc. stock trend over the past year, 2016-2017 (Credit:
People rounded up by ICE kept in an unsanitary holding pin in an undisclosed Texas detention center (Credit: office of rep. Henry Cuellar/Huffington post)
People rounded up by ICE kept in an unsanitary holding pin in an undisclosed Texas detention center (Credit: office of rep. Henry Cuellar/Huffington post)

Despite the rhetoric early on in the administration about deporting people as quickly as possible, executive orders have called for more detention to be built. Geo group inc., (the corporation that owns the NorthWest Detention Center) stocks have risen significantly since the election, after falling pretty heavily after the Obama administration announced it would “end” contracting with private prison facilities. According to the intercept, Geo Group gave around $100,000 to the Trump campaign. As well as CoreCivic (formerly CCA) donating a quarter of a million dollars to fund Trumps inauguration ceremony. On February 23rd the Department of Justice announced it would be reversing the Obama administration’s decision to end private prison contracting.    


said Peter Altabef, the chief executive of Unisys Corporation, on a call with financials analysts last earlier this month. “So clearly on things such as border security, which is our largest client in the federal government, I would say we’ve become increasingly bullish about that,” he added.

Andy Teich, the president and chief executive of FLIR Systems, which makes specializes cameras used on the U.S.-Mexico border, said on a call with investors last week that he feels “pretty good” about Trump’s southern border security initiatives. “Border Patrol likes us. We’ve got a very good reputation and track record with CBP. And I think no matter what ends up going on, if there’s more money being spent on the border, it’s reasonable to think that thermal imaging and FLIR will be a part of that,” he added. (Fang, L.)


What a “sanctuary city” is and is not

A sanctuary city is a municipality that does not allow their local police force arrest non-citizens on behalf of any federal immigrant enforcement and deportation agencies. It does not automatically protect non-citizens who have already been arrested by local police; Nor does it protect the community from ICE storming into their cities in homes whenever they want to. Recent Raid ops in “Sanctuary Cities” such as Chicago and New York City show that if the feds want to terrorize communities and rip families apart, a mayor or a city council will not stand in the way.

A sheriff department?   


“As sheriff your primary duty is to ensure the safety of the residents of Travis County. However, your recent policy directive forbidding Travis County Sheriff’s Office employees from cooperating with U.S immigration and customs enforcement (ICE)… betrays your oath and the residents of Travis County” (Smith, J)

In a special instance, the head of the Travis county sheriff Sally Hernandez made a strong statement that her department would not cooperate with ICE agents even if they had undocumented people in custody. This stance was tested when ICE asked Travis County to keep 5 people detained for them, they reclined that request, as well as a request to know the release dates of 4 separate individuals. Of course we cannot rely on local and county police departments to resist fascist strong arms of the government. Even in this example they would still satisfy a request by the feds if the target individual in custody was convicted of a “violent” crime. ICE has detained people who qualify under DACA and those who are hospitalized. In response the governor of Texas has made threats to defund the department, and has accused the sheriff of putting the state in danger.


Community organizing

Protesters block an onramp to the interstate in Los Angeles after an ICE raid (credit: CBS Los Angeles)
Protesters block an onramp to the interstate in Los Angeles after an ICE raid (credit: CBS Los Angeles)

Many communities are forming mutual aid networks to deal with ICE. Groups have been conducting Know Your Rights trainings geared toward ICE enforcement. Rapid response networks are being set up so communities can mobilize during an impending raid. RRN’s can look very different between groups comfort levels, vulnerability, and political alignment. Many cop-watching protocols can and have been implemented into an RRN framework. It this case this would be playing the role of witness. There are also more direct action plans that can be implemented into the responses. Communities have discussed setting of human lines in between the people targeted and the state. Unfortunately in many cases, raids are kept very low-key and appropriate response times would be a small amount of minutes. Neighborhoods will be tested on this. There are many networks that are currently outreaching to immigration lawyers in hopes of providing more accessibility to those at risk.


Olympia Migrant Defense

NWDC Resistance Projects

Core Projects

(1) Community Raid and Deportation Response Trainings

  • Design and organizing public trainings. Raids take a lot of various forms, but forms that are known and predictable. Some of those raid tactics can be crucially influenced or blocked by a community response.
  • Making the training accessible to masses of people: multiplicity of outreach tactics

Choose this project especially if…

  • You are an immigration lawyer
  • You are an experienced Direct Action Trainer
  • You have experience with/in a community responding to a raid


Refugees//Immigrants//Migrants are Welcome Image // Image to propagate migrant solidarity and combat isolation

  • One image to be widely distributed
  • One image printed larger and in higher quality to be sold at the benefit show

Choose this project especially if…

  • You are an artist
  • You have access to printing large quantities of high quality posters
  • Your community is directly affected by immigration enforcement and you want to contribute to visioning the idea for the image


(2) Building Communication Networks that have the capacity to mobilize a community response to raids and deportations

  • Accessing lots of people through project (1)
  • choosing communication platform, prioritizing accessibility, relative electronic security, and effectiveness at reaching people
  • providing the key to that communication blast to vulnerable spaces, communities, and people in Mason, Thurston, Pierce County

Choose this project especially if…

  • You know a lot about encryption, security culture, and technology
  • You want to help in outreaching to people, spaces, and communities vulnerable to raids


Basic-Info-Distro – in public spaces and centers of community in Thurston, Pierce, and Mason Counties, and Grays Harbor

  • Basic Emergency Preparedness,  Know-Your-Rights, Family Safety Plan, Numbers to report raids / of local immigrants rights grassroots organizations / of free immigration defense attorneys cards/handbills/fliers,, etc..

Choose this project especially if…

  • You have ties to an immigrant community in Thurston, Mason, Pierce, or Grays Harbor County and/or can figure out spaces, individuals, and communities to offer distribution
  • If you are Latinx, Indian, Filipino, Somali, Korean, or Chinese and/or speak Spanish, Hindi, Tagalog, Arabic, Korean, or Mandarin
  • You are interested in doing a lot of leg work! Distro-ing in Olympia / coordinating with carpool team.


Secondary Projects

Hosting a Fundraiser Show – monthly

  • Legal Defense Fund for Undocumented People in Olympia

Choose this project especially if…

  • You have organized fundraiser shows before
  • You have access to a multiplicity of outreach platforms or some very far reaching outreach platforms
  • You have a band, know how to find band’s who’d be down
  • You know how to outreach for a show really well


Pen Pal Program

  • Signing up to be a consistent pen pal with a detainee
  • and/or working to connect the NWDC Resistance Pen Pal Program with Letters To Prisoners and Books to Prisoners

Choose this project especially if…

  • You want to correspond consistently with the detainee.
  • You are connected with Books to Prisoners or Letters to Prisoners.

Sign up:

To help connect prisoner support programs


Mass Carpools:  Olympia —> NWDC Monthly Demo // Solidarity Day

The NWDC Resistance organizes a demonstration at the DC on the first Saturday of every month – supporting families of the detained during visitation hours and taking action against an oppressive immigration system.

  • Figure out how to coordinate mass carpools that can self organize to attend monthly demo’s at the DC
  • Coordinate our own solidarity saturdays during visitation hours
  • This infrastructure will become invaluable in the event of attempting to mobilize a raid response

Choose this project especially if…

  • You can go to the monthly demo solidarity days on the first saturday of each month at the NWDC
  • You have a car


Volunteer at CIELO

  • CIELO is working on a number of preparedness and community organizing against impeding policies but the best way for most people to support them is to just sign up to volunteer.

Choose this project especially if…

  • You have at least an hour a week to volunteer

Sign up!

Help coordinate NWDC Resistance’s “Immigration and Community Organizing” Workshops in Thurston, Pierce, Mason Counties in Spanish and in other Indigenous Languages

  • Power of Attorney, over your bank account your kids
  • Emergency Contacts, in the event of being taken
  • K-Y-Rights Cards
  • General orientation to US Criminal and Civil Justice System for immigrants, consequences and tactics of preparedness

Choose this project especially if…

  • If you have connections with immigrant communities in the area that could use this workshop, please work on this!
  • Especially if you are Latinx, Indian, Filipino, Somali, Korean, or Chinese and/or speak Spanish, Hindi, Tagalog, Arabic, Korean, or Mandarin and are familiar with those immigrant communities in the South Sound


The Olympia Sanctuary City Committee

  • Working with/pressuring Olympia City Council and Law Enforcement to address implementation of the sanctuary city resolution.
  • Know-Your-Rights-Workshops
  • Networking with Faith Groups in the Community
  • Connecting to local K – 12 Schools
    • “Our interest is to network with school officials to clarify district-wide policies: it’s important that they understand that they’re not legally required to request immigration/documentation information from students”

Choose this project especially if…

  • You work in a public school
  • You are critical of police discretion and interested in researching about that.


Tribunal Support

– 2nd Annual Northwest Detention Center Tribunal (Feb 26th)

– 3 rd Annual Farmworker Tribunal (Feb 27th)

  • Show up
  • Host banner and art making spaces
  • Contact immigrant rights and other organizations in the area whose interests align with ours and who have access to lots of people, to ask them to bring carpools of people out and bring solidarity

Choose this project especially if…

  • You have connection with immigrant rights and other interested organizations in the area that can bring masses of people out in shows of solidarity





Whether or not these newest advances of US immigration policy are more scare tactics, or intimidation moves over a full deportation effort, people have been and are being targeted with brute force by the government and by racist community members. There only crime is being toward the bottom of a capitalist economic system that dictates the destruction of their local economy and the exploitation of their labor. The US stole Mexican lands in Utah, California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, colorado, etc. Undocumented migration is not a criminal issue, it is the outcome of a neoliberal empire. The networks that are being created in the cities need to expand out to the agricultural lands where many undocumented people are farm workers and isolation makes it harder for media attention.  Through creating action and coalition networks communities should take this as an opportunity to not only attempt to protect the immediate safety of undocumented people from deportation, but to address root issues that leave people vulnerable to fascist scapegoating.



Keyssar, N., Matiash, C. (2017, January 28), AGONIES OF EXILE: deported mothers, separated from their children, wait in limbo at the mexican border, The Intercept


Cassano, J. (2017, January 26), As Trump Plans an Immigration Crackdown, South Asians Band Together in Brooklyn, The Nation


(2017, January 27), Trump Appoints Hate Group Leader to Border Patrol Agency,


Tesfaye, S. (2017, January 27), Trump Plans to Shame Sanctuary Cities by Publishing a Weekly List of Crimes Committed by Undocumented Immigrants,


Smith, J. (2017, February 3). Texas governor goes to war with Austin over immigration enforcement, The Intercept


Hernandez, K. (2017, February 4). Ice quietly increasing number of families held in detention, Brownsville Herald


Berke, J. (2017, February 4). Trump’s most forceful executive order on immigration isn’t the immigration ban, Business Insider


Millweard. C (2017, February 3). County releases 37 after ICE detainer policy goes into effect, KVUE


Gonzalez.D (2017, February 2). Will local police carry out Trump’s deportation orders?, USA Today


It’s Going Down (2017, February 10). ICE raids: Anger builds as Trump moves to target millions,


Gonzalez, D. (2017, February 9). Arizona mom at center of immigration fight has been deported, AZ central, USA Today


WInston, A. (2017, February 3). California moves to become a sanctuary state as Texas takes a hard line, The Intercept


Hauslohner, A., Rein, L., Somashekhar, S. (2017, February 10). Federal agents conduct sweeping immigration enforcement raids in at least 6 states, The Washington Post

Kilgore, E. (2017, February 16). Yes, there is a trump infrastructure project already under way: building for-profit prisons for immigrants, New York


Rahman, S. (2017, February 15). Sanctuary Cities in Name Only, New York Times (opinion)


Anyone (2017, February 17). What would it take to stop an ICE raid?, It’s Going Down


Winston, A. (2017, February 17). Vague rules let ICE deport undocumented immigrants as gang members, The Intercept


Fang, L. (2017 February 22). Trump’s new immigration crackdown has private prison investors salivating, The Intercept


Holmes, S.(2013) Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: migrant farmworkers in the United States, University of California Press


Dreamers Moms Is an NGO that advocates for families at risk of being separated due to immigration status. They run know your rights trainings on up to date policies such as DAPA.


DRUM Is a community member led organization, comprised largely of low-income south asian migrant workers. Founded in 2000, They have developed a robust 5 core model in fighting for immigrant rights, through wage campaigns, fighting racial profiling policy, and outreach for international solidarity. They have so far been a catalyst in the Trump era, helping to form a much broader community defense network in Kensington, Brooklyn.


Organized Community Against Deportation (OCAD) Is a Chicago based group that organizes against unfair/inhumane immigration enforcement.


Ice Free NYC is an education outreach campaign, with a 3 demand platform. They are apart of the sanctuary city movement advocating for zero police cooperation with ICE authorities.

Big Door Brigade: mutual aid toolbox