‘Stop financing cruelty, stop financing the caging of families…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) If you can’t beat ’em, protest ’em.
That seems to be the strategy for professional immigration activists who are powerless to stop the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration–and it might be working.
In liberal cities and communities across the country, radical protestors have succeeded in undermining a dozen partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement aimed at detaining criminal illegal aliens.
Now, immigration protestors have a new target: banks.
Wells Fargo and Bank of America are two of Charlotte, N.C.’s biggest banks. They also conduct business with two of the largest private prison companies in the United States–which also happen to manage illegal immigration detention facilities–Tennessee-based CoreCivic and Florida’s GEO Group.
Last week, demonstrators entered an uptown Charlotte Wells Fargo branch and delivered a letter demanding that the bank cut its financial ties with CoreCivic and GEO Group. The letter was also addressed to JPMorgan Chase, and was signed by more than 100 groups.
“Our message to those people, to those banks, is stop financing hatred,” said Héctor Vaca, Vaca is the Charlotte director of statewide community-organizing group ActionNC, according to the The Charlotte Observer.
The thrust of the letter’s accusations were that immigration facilities were keeping children in “cages,” which, as The Atlantic noted in June, is largely a semantic debate.
It also followed a common trend in immigration protests of expressing outrage over a nonexistent family-separation policy. Although President Donald Trump briefly implemented a change in the “catch and release” practice, established by the 1997 Flores settlement, which limits the amount of time children–and therefore families with children–can be detained by immigration authorities, he quickly backpedaled following widespread protests.
Of the initial 2,000 children detained under the family-separation policy, a September estimate said all but around 500 had been reunited. Because of the risk of drug-peddlers, sex-traffickers, gang members and others exploiting the children, authorities have used DNA testing to confirm identities.
A larger concern looms over the presence of unaccompanied minors in the detention facilities. Under the Obama administration’s practice of encouraging families to willingly abandon their children at the border, a surge of more than 100,000 kids arrived. The Trump administration’s enforcement of immigration laws and enhanced screening practices may have reduced the number of ‘relatives’ coming forward to claim the minors as many are themselves illegal immigrants.
However, these nuances may have been lost on ActionNC during its Wells Fargo protest.
“Stop financing cruelty, stop financing the caging of families,” Vaca said on Thursday. “Banks that are funding this type of behavior are encouraging it, they’re encouraging all these attacks on immigrants, encouraging President Trump’s war on immigrants.”
Charlotte isn’t the only city where banks are being targeted.
In July, protestors demonstrated outside the New York City home of JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Protestors then gathered outside the New Jersey home of a Wells Fargo board member.
Both CoreCivic and GEO Group are publicly traded companies whose Securities and Exchange Commission filings show business ties with Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
But like many of the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policies, the SEC filings indicate that these business ties pre-date the administration.