Police in San Francisco arrested 16 activists protesting the Obama administration’s recent raids in California that scooped up over one hundred illegal migrants from Central and South America.
Up to 200 protesters organized from groups in Los Angeles and San Francisco snarled traffic in the city’s financial district on January 26. The protest was focused in front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Sansome Street.
The protesters claimed many of the 121 migrants swept up in recent ICE raids are people who should have been afforded refugee status. The protesters say the illegal migrants are fleeing war and violence-torn areas, and sending them back where they came from would put their lives in danger.
“We need to recognize people currently fleeing Central America are legitimate refugees and also political asylum seekers” because of the violence, Berkeley student Christopher Lopez, 22, told the media.
The protesters chained themselves together at the corner of Sansome and Washington streets, outside the ICE building, and blockaded traffic in the area.
KRON TV in San Francisco reported that 16 of the protesters were arrested just after 10AM on Tuesday.
ICE has justified the raids as a way to warn other illegals against coming here in breach of our immigration laws.
“We fully respect the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. The Department of Homeland Security remains committed to sensible, effective immigration enforcement that focuses on its priorities,” ICE officials said in a statement released after the protest.
Protester Kitzia Esteva, an organizer with Causa Justa (Just Cause), said her group has recently witnessed several migrants taken into custody by ICE.
“Those raids leave no space for rehabilitation or real needs and treat people like they’re disposable,” she told local San Fran blog Mission Local.
Frank Lara, a teacher at Buena Vista Horace Mann in the Mission, claimed announcements of upcoming ICE raids is “traumatizing” to the illegal migrant community–especially on children.
Police arrested the 16 activists for refusing orders to get out of the streets and move their protest to the sidewalks.
Meanwhile crime rates in San Francisco have skyrocketed since the city was designated a “sanctuary city.”
As Judicial Watch recently reported, arrests for murder in San Francisco jumped 55% and arrests for rape jumped 370% between 2011 and 2015, during the time the city expanded its sanctuary city policies.
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