Protest against new ICE initiative leads to 3 arrests in Los Angeles
Los Angeles police arrested three people Wednesday evening during a demonstration that was staged to protest county jails' participation in a new Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiative that asks jail officials to notify the agency about undocumented immigrant inmates before he or she is released.
Protesters demonstrated after dozens of people discussed the controversial Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) with a panel of sheriff department and ICE officials at a public forum hosted by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.
Around half an hour into the meeting, members from an anti-PEP group, called "ICE out of LA," exited out onto the street. The group fears that the initiative could lead to mass deportations that would separate families within the community.
On its Facebook page, the group states, "We aim to create an open source campaign where people push for ICE out of LA through diverse and innovative tactics."
Making their way into the street, nearly two dozen protestors blocked traffic. They were holding signs stating "No papers, no fear, immigrants are standing here." Marcela Hernandez, a 25-year-old protestor, said she came to the U.S. from Mexico illegally as a child. She added that the initiative affected her personally as her uncle had been deported to Mexico after his arrest in a drug-related case.
The issue of illegal immigration garnered national attention recently after an undocumented immigrant from Mexico killed a California woman. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45, fatally shot 32-year-old Kate Steinle on July 1 while she was strolling with her father at a San Francisco pier. Lopez-Sanchez, a seven-time felon, has already been deported to Mexico five times.
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