Skip to content Skip to navigation

New report profiles ICE operations in San Diego; countered by the resiliency of community organizing

Urges president-elect administration to heed recommendations

Photo: Pedro Rios / AFSC

SAN DIEGO, CA (December 10, 2020) -  On Human Rights Day, the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) US-Mexico Border Program released “Countering ICE’s Abusive Practices with Community Resiliency: Testimonies from San Diego,” a report that profiles how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts its operations in San Diego County, including tactics used during a work-site raid that affected migrant workers and their families. The report also presents how migrants and allies organize against ICE activity as a way to build community power and find healing from the violent trauma that ICE raids cause.

Vanessa Ceceña, human rights program associate with AFSC’s US-Mexico Border Program and lead researcher for this report stated, “ICE agents regularly use abusive tactics in their raids that have traumatic consequences for San Diego families. In spite of those abusive measures, affected individuals and their families continue to demonstrate resilience by organizing to defend their basic rights.”

The report offers recommendations that could help ameliorate the lives of working families in San Diego County.


  • Defund the Department of Homeland Security, including decreasing funding for detention and removal operations, and border militarization that further criminalizes migrants.
  • Shift away from an enforcement-only response to migration. Immigration processes should provide support to migrants to ensure that there is fair access to resources such as legal representation.
  • Halt the arrest of migrants in communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. ICE and its facility contractors have grossly failed to protect migrants when in custody. Community members should not be arrested and put at risk of death.
  • Free individuals from ICE custody by providing alternatives to detention, which includes releasing individuals without having to pay bond via an order of release on one’s own recognizance.
  • Stop the transfer of migrants from and to jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers. Transfers between facilities places people at risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Abolish ICE. The punitive and racist approach to immigration enforcement must be eliminated.

“These recommendations are viable ideas for the incoming Biden administration to consider as it works with Congress to develop practical solutions at re-envisioning public policy on immigration that is inclusive and upholds basic human rights protections for all,” stated Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee’s US-Mexico Border Program.

You can view and download the report at

# # #

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.

Your gift matched!

Become a Partner for Peace monthly donor by August 31, and a generous donor will add $100 to your first month’s gift. You’ll also get a free AFSC tote bag! Partners for Peace make monthly donations to bring critical support to communities worldwide, meet urgent needs in times of crisis, and with people acting with courage to overcome oppression.

Give Now →