• December 2, 2020
 Residents protest US Government’s deportation flights from El Paso airport

8 x 4 foot diorama that was painted for the protest, by El Paso artist Rigoberto de la Mora. Protesters will use the depiction of the holy family during their protests

Residents protest US Government’s deportation flights from El Paso airport

On Tuesday, concerned El Pasoans gathered inside the city’s international airport for the first day of  a three day protest over deportation flights that remove hundreds of people weekly to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. 

“The El Paso airport has never in its history had a protest about anything, though protest is permittedICE-flight protesters will pioneer free political speech on the premises, and offer a Posada theme – about a refugee Family fleeing the threatened murder of their child —  in conjunction with the holiday season,” organizers shared.

The small group of protesters – who are following EPIA’s permitted protest guidelines – contend that as the El Paso airport belongs to the City of El Paso, the City should ban the flights.

“There is precedent nationally for this. King County, Washington – Seattle’s county – recently prohibited the flights. Currently activists in Yakima, Washington are working on a ban.”

According to organizers, from 2010 to 2019, about 20,000 people a year are processed and deported from El Paso to the “Northern Triangle” of Central America – to countries so dangerous that people returned there face a high risk of assault and death.

Photo: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

“Very few have criminal records besides  immigration violations. Many have no records whatsoever. Many were seeking asylum,” organizers shared via email. “El Paso’s flights usually leave before dawn. They tend to be secretive.  Recently, in a cruel move by the Trump administration, flights from El Paso began returning people to other than their native countries – Hondurans sent to Guatemala, for example.”

Organizers share that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) subcontracts the flights to private charter airlines, usually Swift Air and World Atlantic.

“The planes are managed by CAC, a company that used to work for the CIA doing “renditions” of suspected terrorists to countries where they were likely to be tortured. Today, CAC manages deportation flights out of several US airports. El Paso is a major point of expulsion,” organizers added.

According to organizers, the the group will protest will near the Christmas Tree from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 17 and 18; and 1 to 4 p.m. on December 19.

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