A group of about 100 people protested in front of the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown L.A. on Feb. 9 in response to reports of over 100 people being detained there after a series of immigration raids, according to a KTLA news report.
The protest started out as a vigil with around 40 people before gaining momentum and heading down Aliso Street, blocking the entrance to the Southbound 101 Freeway.
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) responded by telling protesters to disperse or face arrest. However, as of 7:30 p.m. there were no reported arrests, according to KTLA.
"As RESILIENCE, an organization committed to social justice, especially regarding the experiences of undocumented immigrants in our communities, we declare solidarity with those who have been affected by inhumane executive orders and waves of deportations," RESILIENCE eboard said in a statement to the Loyolan. "In the coming months, we will continue to uphold LMU's Jesuit values by being humans with and for others, by advocating for immigrants of all national origins, and by mobilizing against unjust laws and practices."
Protesters feared that the arrests were part of Trump's vow to deport those here illegally, but Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in California, said that the immigration raids were routine and were not conducted in light of the new president's stance on deportations, according to the L.A. Times.
Gillian Christensen, acting press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, also stipulated that the "enforcement operations [are] consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis."
Los Angeles and Orange counties are home to one million immigrants living without proper papers, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. Immigration raids were carried out at homes in Santa Paula, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Downey and San Bernardino.
According to Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), 100 people were detained, 60 of whom are Mexican nationals. According to Jorge-Mario Cabrera, communication director for CHIRLA, those detained were either people with deportation orders but no criminal background or family members of those sought who were home during the raids and told officials they lacked documentation.
According to the New York Times, Federal immigration officials arrested more than 600 people across at least 11 states last week.