20 Arrested During Immigration Protest

18-protestors and 4-activists were arrested during an immigration rally in the Central Business District.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered there to protest ICE raids and deportation.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter spoke to pro-immigrant activists about the highly charged event.

“Everyday immigration agents are conducting raids,” activist Jacinta Gonz said.

They are people, united, who are sick and tired of being defeated; and it is for that reason, that they are calling for an end to immigration raids and deportation.

“They’re going to grocery stores, apartment complexes, bible studies, and they’re going and detaining people based just on racial profiling,” organizer Fernando Lopez said. “They’re handcuffing people as they walk out of their homes and they’re walking into the streets.”

Thursday, leaders in the immigrant community staged an act of civil disobedience.

Hundreds gathered in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office.

“Because they come and look for us every day,” Lopez explained.

They held signs and banners, and chanted as they blocked the intersection of Poydras Street and Loyola Avenue.

It was a demonstration that blocked traffic in the busy downtown corridor.

“I’m sure it made some people angry but what they were saying is immigration comes and interrupts their lives every day so a little bit of interruption here is just to show people how it feels for a couple of minutes,” activist Tania Unzveta said.

It didn’t take long before NOPD SWAT teams moved in with riot-cuffs and honored their wishes.

As planned 22-demonstrators were arrested.

Trotter asked, “Why the applause? “For people to show this kind of bravery it’s something to be applauded,” Unzveta replied.

“One of the people who was arrested right now, his wife is a mother of a us citizen child in deportation proceedings and he’s protesting her deportation and the division of their family,” Gonz said.

“Seven years ago after Hurricane Katrina everyone was being welcomed,”Lopez said. “They would come to work to help now that the city’s looking better now they want to kick us out.”

The arrests were made without incident.

ICE and officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security  say priority is placed on the most egregious violators of immigration law.