Anti-ICE protesters assaulted an immigration detention facility in California over the weekend, smashing windows and vandalizing vehicles, reviving the “Abolish ICE” movement that was, in many ways, the precursor to the current “Defund Police” effort.
A 46-minute video posted to YouTube by someone in the crowd captured the mayhem, showing protesters waving Mexican flags, shouting obscenities, smashing windows and scrawling graffiti. At one point the video captures a woman holding a Mexican flag and throwing objects, apparently at employees.
The man taking the video, who identifies himself as the Highdesert Community Watch News Network, seemed stunned that the gathering turned so confrontational after what he said was a mile and a half march.
The protest took place at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Adelanto, California, run by GEO Group, a private contractor, which said the crowd was being fueled by wrong information, including that children were being held there.
“Unfortunately, the dishonest narrative and lies that are being spread about the services our company provides on behalf of the federal government continue to lead to the endangerment of our employees, as witnessed yesterday,” GEO Group said in a statement.
“While we support peaceful protests and the constitutional right to free speech, our employees, who are on the front lines caring for all those in our facilities, should never be met with acts of violence,” the company said.
At the White House, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany compared the Abolish ICE movement to the Defund Police movement that’s arisen in some communities and among some Democratic politicians in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
“We all remember the Defund ICE movement — they want to defund Immigration and Custom Enforcement and now they want to defund the police. This is extraordinary,” she said. “This is rolling back the protective layers that protect Americans in their homes and in their places of business.”
She said President Trump was “appalled by it.”
Protesters held signs such as “Free R Kids” and screamed to “give my children back.”
“A couple mothers here are crying for their children,” the man taking the video narrated.
GEO said children are not housed at the Adelanto facility, and never have been.
Both ICE and GEO have said misinformation and heated anti-ICE rhetoric places them in danger.
Last year, at the height of the Abolish ICE movement, spearheaded by immigrant-rights activists and some liberal Democrats in Congress, GEO facilities were targeted for attacks.
Shots were fired into a building in San Antonio, Texas, that housed both GEO and ICE offices, and a man armed with a rifle attacked a GEO-run detention facility in Tacoma, Washington. The man was attempting to ignite a propane fuel tank to cause an explosion when he was killed.
• Dave Boyer contributed to this article.