LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Protesters spilled into the streets near downtown L.A.’s immigration detention center Thursday evening, angry over claims that immigration officers conducted sweeps across the Southland earlier Thursday. They say resulted in the arrests of dozens of undocumented immigrants.
“Shut down ICE,” they shouted.
The crowd blocked the on-ramp to the southbound 101 Freeway at Aliso and Los Angeles streets for a chunk of the evening commute. For several hours the protest remained mostly peaceful.
“This is the kind of situation we feared, and here it is,” CHIRLA Executive Director, Angelica Salas, said.
The coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights – or CHIRLA – says they had a surge in calls Thursday from attorneys reporting arrests and detentions of undocumented clients. The organization claims those taken into custody are not getting due process.
“It happens every day, but it’s happening in a large scale now,” a protester said.
“As we were coming here there were five vans and one bus that left this detention center,” CHIRLA Political Director, Polonio Morales, said.
Immigration officials deny there was any spike in arrests, telling CBSLA their immigration enforcement actions are ongoing and that arrests are made routinely. An ICE official says they prioritize cases based on a number of factors including immigration and criminal history.
Those words did little to quiet protesters who believe undocumented immigrants are now prime targets for arrest.