Protests in US against crackdown by immigration enforcement officers

Protests were carried out across Minneapolis in what organisers called 'state sponsored hatred'. (Representative image) Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Austin, TX, United States Feb 11, 2017, 10.48 PM (IST)

Protests against Trump's immigration ban broke out in the cities of Austin, Minneapolis and New York on Saturday. US authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented migrants this week in the first large-scale raids under President Donald Trump, triggering panic in immigrant communities nationwide, AFP reported.

More than a hundred people gathered in Austin, Texas -- home to 100,000  unauthorized migrants --  late Friday to demonstrate against the crackdown by immigration enforcement officers in the last few weeks.

The average number of people detained per day has increased dramatically, going from four or five to 44 over the past two days, according to the Mexican Consulate, Reuters reported.

Demonstrators told Reuters that one operation, known as "Cross Check" which focuses on undocumented immigrants with criminal records, has resulted in a dragnet. "We, as a community here have the right to gather and unite and fight for our rights," said one of the demonstrators protesting the operations collectively called Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE released the results of the operation, saying about 150 of the 160 foreign nationals arrested during the week had criminal histories, CNN reported.  CNN quoted a Homeland Security official as saying that 37 of those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in California this week as part of the enforcement crackdown have now been deported to Mexico. 

US President Donald Trump recently broadened the categories of people who could be targeted for immigration enforcement to anyone who had been charged with a crime, removing an Obama-era exception for people convicted of traffic misdemeanors.

In New York, which hosts the country's largest population of undocumented immigrants -- 1.15 million, according to Pew -- a few hundred people demonstrated near the immigration services office.


Thousands protest in Minneapolis in solidarity with immigrants

Over a thousand people protested across Minneapolis on Saturday in a show of solidarity with immigrants and Muslims against what organisers of the event called "state-sponsored hatred".

Organisers carried a banner with the words "Love Embraces All" as they led the March, called  "Walk of Love", through downtown Minneapolis just days before Valentine's Day. Others waved US flags, heart-shaped balloons and held up signs criticising US President Donald Trump's travel ban and views on immigration, Reuters reported.

The march, which began in downtown Minneapolis, closed down roads throughout the city and ended near a pedestrian bridge by the University of Minnesota. Several marches have recently taken place throughout the US to protest Trump's immigration policies.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)