A makeshift tent city emerged here amid the turmoil surrounding President Trump's border crackdown and family separation policies, and for the 11 days the protesters had effectively shut down ICE's offices as they demanded the agency be abolished.
The focus was on the roughly 2,000 children who have been separated from their families under President Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat Rep. Joe Crowley in New York's Democratic primary, ran on a platform that called for the abolition of ICE. Officers were holding a boundary line between federal and private property, and they would maintain a round-the-clock security presence "for some time", he said.
While Philadelphia is a so-called sanctuary city, officials had maintained that they would honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers as long as they included a criminal arrest order signed by a judge.
Buch said some law enforcement agencies either don't want to work with HSI or they want "to minimize ICE's involvement in the joint operations".
During my trip to the southern border, it was clear that ICE, and its actions of hunting down and tearing apart families, has wreaked havoc on far too many people.
"But the abolish ICE debate oversimplifies everything", the aide said.
"Just trying to stop ICE, really, and abolish that whole system, peacefully though", Kelly Bower, another protestor, said.
ICE spokeswoman Liz Johnson condemned calls to abolish the agency as "dangerously misguided" in a statement Friday.
The president in a pair of tweets Saturday that abolishing ICE would "never happen", adding that its employees are "one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen".
A Republican push for a comprehensive immigration bill that would have, among other things, addressed the family separation issue failed on Wednesday, with more than 100 Republicans voting against the measure.
Sens. Kristen Gillibrand of NY and Kamala Harris of California have suggested the agency responsible for enforcing immigration laws be eliminated.
Trump on Saturday claimed he has "watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13". They gathered on the front lawn of a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, near a detention center where migrant children were being held in cages, and on a street corner near Trump's golf resort at Bedminster, New Jersey, where the president is spending the weekend.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif has said that the USA should consider "starting from scratch" while Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., announced Monday that he would be introducing a bill to abolish the agency.