Protesters Decry Border Patrol Activity at Spokane Intermodal Center
More than 100 people gathered outside the Spokane Intermodal Center on Wednesday afternoon to protest the arrests of undocumented immigrants at the downtown transportation hub, and to call on local leaders to limit cooperation with the U.S. Border Patrol and other immigration agencies.
The rally was organized by the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network and by Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. Participants decried the rising number of arrests of immigrants in the region and nationwide, including many who have committed no crimes beyond crossing the border illegally.
“I have had friends – people that I’ve known for a long time – that have been arrested with no criminal record. The only crime they committed was just working without documents,” said Lili Navarrete, whose family immigrated from Mexico when she was a child and later applied for citizenship. “It took us 12 years, and we were lucky,” she said.
Navarrete has lived in Spokane for 30 years and leads a Planned Parenthood program called Raíz (Spanish for “root”) that helps connect Latinx communities with health services. She said she supports the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
“More than a quarter of our patients are Latinx, so this is really something that hits home for us,” said Paul Dillon, public affairs director for Planned Parenthood. “I think the county and the city really need to reevaluate their priorities and their relationships with ICE and Border Patrol.”
Since the start of fiscal 2013, Border Patrol agents have apprehended some 200 people at the city-owned Intermodal Center, which houses the Spokane Police Department’s downtown precinct. Parts of the building are rented to Amtrak, Greyhound and other bus carriers. Agents are known to board idling buses and ask passengers for identification, arresting those who are undocumented.