Protesters took to the streets in Los Angeles on Thursday evening after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly raided homes and communities around the city and detained over 100 people in a mere three hours.
Reflecting the growing community-level resistance to President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown, protesters chanted "not one more deportation!" in front of an ICE detention center and later formed a human chain in the street:
— Chris Gierowski (@tepall14) February 10, 2017
While an ICE spokesperson defended the citywide immigration raids as routine, local immigrant advocacy groups say the volume of reports of detentions they received is unusual and frightening, and a part of Trump's harsh crackdown on immigrants' rights.
"This is the kind of situation we feared would happen, and here it is," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).
The alarming raids came the same day a mother of two who has lived in the U.S. for over 20 years was deported from Arizona to Mexico, despite protests from her community and pleas from her children. The deportation was widely seen as just the beginning of Trump's xenophobic campaign against peaceful undocumented immigrants.
Indeed, while ICE claimed its detentions in Los Angeles targeted people with violent criminal records, CHIRLA said that many people detained on Thursday had no criminal convictions to speak of.
Moreover, CHIRLA policy director Joseph Villa also told a local TV station that despite CHIRLA's efforts to speak to those being detained, "ICE is not releasing their names. ICE is not allowing them to see their attorney."
"We can't make this the new normal," Salas said. "People were calling us—we were in the middle of a staff retreat, we stopped everything because we were receiving so many calls from our community. Our community is concerned and they really do feel terrorized."
Watch members of CHIRLA describe the deportations here:
Local advocacy groups have been holding vigils, attempting to connect detained people with immigration lawyers, and offering "know your rights" trainings to help undocumented immigrants fearing raids. A solidarity rally for immigrant rights is planned in New York on Friday.
Civil rights advocates are also calling on law enforcement to help them resist an emboldened ICE agency. Many local police departments, including the Los Angeles Police Department, have promised not to assist ICE with immigration detentions and deportations.
As part of the effort to resist Trump's crackdown, immigrant youth group United We Dream also launched a #HereToStay campaign, which asks supporters of human and civil rights to pledge to show up in person when ICE comes to deport members of their community.