A Los Angeles intersection was shut down today after ICE protesters blocked the area in what the LAPD is calling an unlawful assembly.
ABC 7 News reports that numerous people gathered around Los Angeles and Temple streets at approximately 8 a.m. this morning. Many of the protesters sat on the ground while others made circles around them. The crowd grew so large that authorities shut the 101 Freeway exit ramp close to Los Angeles street.
The protest stems from 22 Democratic senators asking President Obama to stop the most recent round of federal deportation raids. According to the senators, the new raids were picking up children and mothers who, if returned to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, face genuine threats of death and violence. Protesters agree and feel that the raids are not only inhumane and violent but harmful and disruptive to the community.
Director of communications at Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) Tessie Borden stated that the protesters were “preparing for them” by protesting Obama’s policy on immigration.
“We’re responding to the Obama administration’s continuing policy of conducting raids and persecuting mothers and children who are from Central America and who are seeking asylum and protection.”
Los Angeles & Main Street closed by anti-ICE protest. Demanding end to all deportations of undocumented immigrants. pic.twitter.com/DHViB1cSqE— Conan Nolan (@conanNBCLA) January 26, 2016
Lawmakers spoke out on the protest, indicating that they are concerned about the welfare of people facing violence if returned back to their homeland.
“We are troubled by the priorities reflected in these enforcement actions. It is important to evaluate this as a humanitarian and refugee crisis involving a vulnerable population and not strictly as a border security and immigration enforcement matter.”
The senators stated that many of raids happened during pre-dawn hours while young children were sleeping. Although administration argues that using such tactics will dissuade more immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally, the senators rejected the notion.
“That argument relies on the false premise that most of these people are not fleeing extraordinary danger.”
Regardless, White House spokesman Peter Boogaard said that despite the conditions that make people free from their country to the U.S., the administration cannot allow them to cross the border illegally.
“While we recognize the serious underlying conditions that cause some people to flee their home countries, we cannot allow our borders to be open to illegal migration. Those who come here illegally will be sent home after being provided an opportunity to have their cases and humanitarian claims heard, consistent with our laws and values.”
Meanwhile, many protesters surrounded San Francisco’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building, causing more congestion in an already congested area, per LAPD. The National People’s Action group (NPA) brought enormous banners that they placed on the ground and surrounded while holding hands.
Yadira Sanchez, one of the many protesters who showed up this morning, said that he joined the rally because of the harm he’s witnessed first-hand by the deportation process.
“I’m taking part of this action because our familias and community can’t continue to live under the abusive presence of ICE. I’ve seen the harm deportations have caused in my family and I don’t want to experience it again.”
Since 2009, the Obama administration has deported more than 2.5 million people, which, according to the Department of Homeland Security, is more deportations that any other president has carried out in U.S. history.
Yet, despite the massive efforts of the ICE protest, the administration hasn’t commented or made any statements that the current types of raids will stop anytime soon.
[Photo by Edwin Tamara/AP]