Per Missing Piece Group:

On July 16th, 2018, Jim Bianco woke to a startling message.

A fan wrote to let him know that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) was using a song he’d written some years back to torment protesters outside their facility in Portland, Oregon. They were specifically targeting the Occupy- ICE movement camped outside the building in objection to the agency’s recent practices in separating the families of those seeking asylum in our country.

At first Bianco thought it was a sick joke.

In late 2016, the song EASY STREET, written and produced by Bianco for his project, “The Collapsable Hearts Club” which features Petra Haden as the lead vocalist, immediately went viral after it appeared on an episode of the AMC’s hit zombie TV show “The Walking Dead”.

In the episode, the song was used as a torture device, being played over and over to break the spirit of Daryl, one of the lead characters who had been captured by the enemy. The intensity of the scene turned the song into a cult hit overnight among Walking Dead fans. “It was strange enough to watch my song being used to torture fictitious characters in a TV show.  But as the real-life reenactment unfolded in Portland, it struck a personal chord for me.”

Jim has been active in reuniting immigrant families in Los Angeles, most recently with Guatemalan asylum seeker Hermelindo Che Coc. Jim was present with a few other activists to accompany Hermelindo to his court hearing in efforts to prevent his deportation from taking place prior to being reunited with his 6-year-old son. (The two were subsequently reunited a few days after the hearing.)

Bianco plans to send a cease and desist to the Federal government to demand that they immediately and permanently cease using his song in this matter.

We feel obligated to shine a light on the inhumane and unconstitutional practices that are being enacted by our government. We are disgusted and offended by the abhorrent use of our creative work to try and prevent American citizens from speaking their minds and standing up for causes they believe in. We feel strongly that the right to public assembly is part of the framework of our democracy and are saddened that our government would resort to using these tactics as an attempt to silence its citizens. We hope our story can be an important contribution to the current dialogue taking place on immigration rights in America and also serve as a reference point for the flagrant abuse of our citizens’ basic rights by the current administration.