DHS Recruiters Forced out of University Career Fair After Student Protestors Block Booth

February 23, 2020 Updated: February 23, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recruiters were forced to leave a career fair at Kent State University in Ohio, after their booth was blocked by students protesting against the department.

A video recorded and published by Kent State’s student newspaper KentWired shows protesting students linking their arms to form a human wall around the DHS’ table at the Feb. 20 Spring Internship, Co-op and Career Fair. Protesters can be seen holding up flyers that read “ABOLISH ICE” and “NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL.”

The Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) is an agency under the DHS. Its main focuses include enforcing federal immigration laws, preventing terrorism, and investigating illegal movement of people and goods.

DHS representatives eventually left their table, after which a protestor covered it with flyers the group was holding in an apparent demonstration of victory. A campus police officer then arrived at the site and dispersed the protesters, according to KentWired.

“They are targeting racial minorities. They are working both legally and illegally to deport people who should not be deported,” a student told KentWired, adding that the DHS is “blatantly racist.”

“It should not be allowed for Kent to sponsor such a blatantly violent racist organization. It should not be allowed that Kent sponsors anyone getting employment from them and we directly wanted to disrupt the economic benefits of them being at a job fair,” the student added.

Another student compared the DHS table at the career fair with the National Guard being called to campus, referring to the May 4, 1970 tragedy that resulted in four deaths and nine wounded when Ohio National Guards opened fire on a crowd gathered to protest the Vietnam War. “We want to get rid of any type of state law enforcement entity off of this campus that directly ties to our history,” she said.

It is not the first time students have protested companies or agencies tied to ICE at university job fairs. Last September, students at Duke University tried to block recruiting efforts by Palantir, a data analytics company that¬†secured a $49 million contract to provide ICE with software that could be used to track migrants at the border. Palantir also canceled an on-campus recruitment session at University of California at Berkeley, after 700 students and faculty members signed a petition calling for the company to be removed from the job fair. At Brown University, Amazon and Microsoft were targeted alongside Palantir because they “sold tech to ICE.”