On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. Floyd pleaded for Chauvin to stop; however, his pleas fell on deaf ears and he eventually died. Floyd’s death is unfortunately not an isolated event, and the police brutality that has occurred against people especially of color has led to nationwide protests.

In the wake of the protests over the wrongful deaths of people such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, initial government responses have been to increase security. At the state level, governors have been mobilizing their respective National Guards, and at the federal level, Trump deployed the Army in Washington, D.C.

In addition, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have joined in as well. Traditionally, the CBP has an operating zone near the U.S. contiguous boundary, in which they work to identify individuals that may have crossed illegally. They patrol the borders and operate checkpoints. Meanwhile, ICE works within the country all over to remove aliens within the U.S.

Agents of both organizations have been deployed to assist in various states with their operations largely taking place at “sensitive locations” such as protests, hospitals, and schools. States such as Minnesota and the capital itself, Washington D.C., have requested the assistance of these organizations. ICE does not have the authority to carry out immigration enforcement at protests, however, ICE and CBP agents can conduct criminal arrests. It is important to take care as the American Civil Liberties Union warns that particularly the CBP has had a history of using excessive forces and violating civil rights. The CBP and ICE organizations have in the past operated without accountability, so it is important to proceed with caution if you choose to protest.

The recent federal government’s militarized responses have shown injustices surrounding both immigrant and black communities in the United States. Both community members have suffered from the lack of accountability, mass incarcerations, and denial of due process. Francis Law Center stands with the immigrant and black communities against the evils of racism, discrimination, and exclusion. We are in this fight together.

Written by Attorney Jae Francis Lee and FLC Staff Andrew Lee