Hundreds gather to protest against latest federal immigration operations

Hundreds gather in North Austin to protest the recent arrests made by ICE Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (KXAN Photo / Paul Shelton)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than 100 people gathered in North Austin overnight to protest against immigration agents cracking down on unauthorized immigrants throughout the Austin area.

The demonstrators gathered near the intersection of North Lamar Boulevard and Rundberg Lane until early Saturday morning at the same location where Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested a man illegally living in the country Friday morning.

On Friday, Congressman Joaquin Castro confirmed that ICE launched a targeted operation in South and Central Texas. As part of ICE’s Operation Cross Check, officers conduct the nationwide operation by detaining unauthorized immigrants convicted of crimes in the country.

Protesters Friday night voiced their concerns about the recent operation and its effect on some Austin communities.

“They’re just separating families but we as a community here have the right to gather and unite and fight for our rights- for the rights of the community, for the rights of the immigrants,” protester Martin Cruz said.

Austin-based Consul General of Mexico Carlos Gonzales Gutierrez says there are a range of issues why ICE could be targeting immigrants, despite if in most cases they have established U.S. roots.

“Sometimes it’s cases of DWI, sometimes it’s people that have come and go several times undocumented and ICE has already identified them. Sometimes they are accused of domestic violence. Sometimes they have not complied with a previous deportation order. There’s many reasons why ICE is looking for them,” Gonzales Gutierrez said.

According to the Mexican Consulate, a total of 44 arrests were made in the last two days.

 

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