Immigration protest asks New Yorkers to experience part of the deportation process

The “Deportee Suitcase Action” was held in Federal Plaza Thursday evening.

A coalition of immigration advocates is asking New Yorkers to consider what they would pack for a loved one who was about to be deported.

The New Sanctuary Coalition and more than 40 other community groups held a “Deportee Suitcase Action” on Thursday to bring attention to part of the deportation process they say has “been hidden in the shadows.”

When Immigration and Customs Enforcement orders someone to be deported, a family member or friend can pack one bag for them, the coalition said in a statement. That bag, weighing less than 40 pounds, must be dropped off, with the detainee not allowed to be present when the family member delivers it, an ICE representative said.

“We are asking every New Yorker to think about one person — someone you love — and imagine packing a suitcase for that person before they are deported to a country where you might never see them again,” the statement said.

The group asked people to bring one of the objects they would pack to a demonstration at 26 Federal Plaza at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. It also asked participants to share a photo of the object and an explanation of why they chose it on social media, using #WhatWouldYouPack.

“We invite New Yorkers, rather than just demonstrate, to open themselves up to what it means to see someone taken forever,” the coalition said ahead of the protest.

Nicole Brown