Miramar ICE office has hundreds of immigrants and protesters

Miramar ICE office has hundreds of immigrants and protesters (WPEC)

It’s not a detention center, but it’s another building where the immigration debate is raging: the ICE field office in Miramar.

Protesters gather here to sound off about President Trump’s policies, while volunteers come to help the hundreds of immigrants waiting to file paperwork.

This office closes at 3 p.m., but for most of the morning and afternoon, the whole area is swamped.

This ICE substation in Miramar opens at 7 a.m., but many of the people arrive at 3 or 4, and many are told to “come back tomorrow” after waiting all day.

There are no bathrooms outside, no water fountains, and leaving means you lose your spot in line, so volunteers from multiple groups are on hand with water bottles.

Lately, however, protesters have taken up ground here.

“The first thing I tell people when I go out there, I’m going out there as a mom, a pissed off mom.” said Laurie Woodward Garcia.

Woodward Garcia is both a volunteer and a protester.

She lives five minutes away from the ICE office and she is disgusted the lines are getting worse and the waiting zone never improves.

“We need to hold them accountable,” Woodward Garcia said.

There are mothers with small children, elderly people, some with disabilities, and the Florida heat and Florida rain aren't kind here, so Laurie says she and many of her neighbors are.

“In our own backyard this is happening," Woodward Garcia said.

Laurie says she is calling on ICE to set up smaller offices in more locations and update or automate their system so people don’t have to wait indefinitely. She also says they should be able to have a reservation for an appointment.

Woodward Garcia points to the fact that passport processing has changed with the times, so why not this?

And for anyone watching who says this is what has to happen to stay here legally, this is the law, so the lines are necessary.

“Actually, I have a neighbor on the corner she says ‘they have to fill out the paperwork like I did’ and I would just ask her to come over and let’s see this process.” Woodward Garcia said.

Here’s the statement ICE sent CBS 12 News:

“ICE is actively coordinating with the lessor and GSA to upgrade conditions at the Miramar sub-office. Restroom signs have been made and posted. The signs will inform the visitors that there are restrooms available in the building and to contact security officers to enter the building. Even though there are drinking fountains available in the lobby area of the Miramar Sub-office, ICE is exploring the possibility of adding additional drinking fountains outside of the building. While we maintain that providing visitor parking is not ICE’s responsibility, ICE HQ is actively working with GSA to obtain additional visitor parking.”

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