Hundreds gathered Thursday to protest planned raids against undocumented immigrants that are said to begin Sunday.
Activists and organizers of all ages gathered in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in San Francisco. Raising fists in solidarity and holding signs in support of immigrant families, protesters rallied.
“We will continue to resist through tears, through rage,” chanted demonstrators, some who carried signs.
Supporters and community members also came out to show their commitment.
“We’re here today cause there have been reports that raids [will start] on Sunday and they’re going to be continuing through the next week throughout the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Aradhana Tiwari, an immigration attorney for Dolores Street Community Services, “unjust raids that detain people and deny them complete due process.”
Tiwari told SFBay that ICE denied her and other lawyers to talk to recently detained undocumented immigrants:
“ICE told us repeatedly that we weren’t allowed to talk to them. They insisted that all detainees are given a list of pro-bono services to which we said that ‘we are those pro-bono services and we’re actually here to do intakes today.'”
In front of the Immigration facility, a number of speakers made speeches from a truck in the middle of Sansome Street, which volunteers safely blocked off both ends.
“It is our duty to show that San Francisco will not back down,” said Sharif Zakout, the lead organizer at the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. “When you come after one of us, you come after all of us.”
Inabel Ibanez, political director of the United Educators of San Francisco, spoke about the difference between how educators and ICE treat youth:
“The tactics being used by the Trump Administration to stoke fear, hatred and violence against communities is traumatic, it is harmful and it is abusive.” As educators, we are always being intentional about the ways we can support all of our students in our schools on a daily basis. And one of the most important things in the development of children is to be in safe and stable environments.”
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security released a report containing photos of severe overcrowding in migrant detention facilities, prompting a large outcry from many across the country. In June, six attorneys visited a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, and revealed that children were in dirty conditions and many had untreated illnesses.
Olga Miranda, President of SEIU Local 87, thanked the crowd of demonstrators for showing up and acting as the voice for detained youth whose parents couldn’t speak for them.
“We should be stopping ICE at every turn we can,” said Miranda.
The New York Times reported Thursday that ICE will be conducting arrests that will target “at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered deported,” according to security officials from the Department of Homeland Security.
The arrests may take place weeks after the Trump Administration delayed an effort to deport undocumented immigrants; President Donald Trump had exposed the planned operation when he tweeted about it.