Skip to content

Grand Rapids participates in the national No Business With ICE Action Day

October 2, 2018

Last night, some 25 people participated in the national No Business With ICE Action Day, here in Grand Rapids. Cities across the country participated in the action to draw attention to the many corporations and businesses that have contracts with ICE, and to demand that they end their contracts with an agency that does tremendous harm to the immigrant community.

The target in Grand Rapids was the Edmark Development Company. Edmark, which now owns the Waters Center building, leases space to the Department of Homeland Security/ICE at 161 Ottawa NW. However, you wouldn’t know this, since there is no information listed at their online directory or the directory in the building’s lobby.

Movimiento Cosecha GR and the GR Rapid Response to ICE group were handing out flyers with information about Edmark, along with ways for people to contact them to demand that they end their lease with the Department of Homeland Security/ICE. The number to call for Edmark is 616.575.6051. There is also an online petition that people can sign.

However, before going to the Waters Center, people gathered at Calder Plaza, where they were met by 12 – 15 cops from the GRPD. The cops told the group that if they went into the Waters Center building and disrupted people there for entertainment (the Waters Center is an ArtPrize venue), they would be arrested.

It was a cold and raining night in Grand Rapids, which meant there wasn’t much foot traffic, so the action moved from the Waters Building and decided to go to Rosa Parks Circle to see if there were more people that they could share the flyer with.

Upon arriving at Rosa Parks Circle the group stood in front of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, specifically where channel 8 has their ArtPrize studio, holding up banners and signs and chanting. After about 5 minutes, the GRPD (which followed them down) told people they had to move off the brown colored bricks onto the grey colored bricks or they would be arrested.

The group then went down to the arena district and continued to hand out flyers and to chant about ICE, Edmark and the cops, since the cops kept following the group the entire way. The action ended at the ArtPrize office on Sheldon & Weston, where flyers were left for ArtPrize staff.

Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE also wrote up a statement, which was delivered to the Edmark Development Company office. It is a powerful statement, which we will re-post here:

To: Edmark Development Company

161 Ottawa NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49508

From:  Movimiento Cosecha GR

GR Rapid Response to ICE

Concerned citizens

Date: October 1, 2018, A National Day of #NoBusinessWithICE

We demand that you cancel your contract with ICE and stop renting office space to the Department of Homeland Security.

Why?

  1. It’s morally wrong to be complicit with ICE. ICE abuses immigrants and children.

There’s evidence that there have been over 33,000 complaints filed against ICE over the last 7 years, alleging a wide range of abuses in immigration detention. Those included sexual abuse. There are cases in which complying with a demand could get an immigrant released -but they could be deported to the wrong country if they didn’t.  

The ACLU has obtained over 30,000 pages of documented abuses of immigrant children in ICE custody. ICE officers have:

  • Punched a child’s head three times, kicked a child in the ribs
  • Used a stun gun on a boy, causing him to fall to the ground, shaking, with his eyes rolling back in his head
  • Subjected a 16-year-old girl to a search that ended in a sexual assault which was too graphic to describe here.
  • They’ve done many other things – calling children dogs, threatening them with sexual assault by other inmates, running over a teen with a patrol vehicle, refusing to let children stand up for days, and more.  

This is the organization that you are allowing in your building.

  1. ICE separates families and hurts our community.

In 2016, the number of undocumented immigrants in Kent County was over 13,000.  The undocumented share of the immigrant population was over 26%.

This means that most immigrant families and many non-immigrant families here have loved ones who are under-documented, and the fear of their detention and deportation affects all areas of their lives. The fear of losing a loved one. Of losing a family member.  Of losing the income they need to live.

Even when they are not abused by ICE like in the examples above, children are traumatized and do poorly in school when a parent is taken. Mental and physical health, productivity, and quality of life all suffer greatly when a family is separated.

Yet it is estimated that immigrants contribute $3.3 billion a year to Kent County’s economy. Immigrants are our valued neighbors, working, living, learning, and playing alongside of us in our day-to-day lives. We must stand with them.

  1. We must make it so that ICE cannot do their violence in our city.

Businesses all over the country have stopped doing business with ICE. Virgin Airlines won’t use their flights to deport people anymore. Several local municipalities have canceled their contracts with ICE and ordered ICE detainees to be released. By making it difficult for ICE to work in our city, we can help to stop the violence and keep families together.  

Stop renting to ICE. Support the immigrant community.

 

%d bloggers like this: