‘Shame on you’: Community organizers protest Customs and Border Protection conference

Demonstrators chanted and set up cages and white crosses across from the conference Tuesday morning.

SHARE ‘Shame on you’: Community organizers protest Customs and Border Protection conference

Sounds of protest filled the air near McCormick Place as community organizers gathered in objection to a Customs and Border Protection conference Tuesday morning.

Surrounding seven white crosses — for seven children who died during detainment in U.S. immigration facilities — and cages holding dolls covered in aluminum foil blankets, organizers gave speeches and led protesters in chants.

Organizers also played audio recordings of children allegedly crying while in detainment.

“Down, down for deportation; up, up for liberation,” the crowd chanted. “ICE and borders, we don’t need ’em; what we need is total freedom.”

At a few points, cars — and even a small bus of children — drove by the protesters, honking in solidarity.

The protest was colored with frequent choruses of boos and cries of “Shame on you” at the Marriott Marquis, the hotel hosting the CBP conference.

“I want them to know that we’re vigilant and aware . . . and [Customs and Border Protection] is not welcome,” said community organizer Tatiana Muñoz, 22.

Marriott International stated earlier this month it would not allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use its hotels as detention centers. Protest organizer Rey Wences, 28, and others believe the convention violates that promise.

“This is our statement that [Customs and Border Protection] are not welcome in Chicago,” said Wences.

Chicago police on bicycles encircled the protesters to keep them orderly. From outside the hotel’s entrance, more officers watched. A few guests periodically stepped out to observe.

Anna Rubin, 26, said organizers have called Marriott Marquis management “every day in the past week” to demand they disinvite CBP from the hotel.

“I want people to recognize that CBP is … coming into our own city,” said Rubin. “It’s a fight for our own backyard.”

When asked for a response to the protests, a Marriott Marquis spokesperson said, “This morning’s protest ended without incident.”

“​U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission is not just about securing the border,” the CBP said in a statement.

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