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14 Community Leaders Arrested Protesting Obama Admin Raids Targeting Central American Refugees

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14 immigration and community leaders were arrested during a demonstration in front of the White House today protesting the Obama Administration’s ICE raids targeting Central American families fleeing death and violence.

“Look around you, and you will see 83 crosses. These crosses stand for 83 immigrant deaths that took place in 2014. All 83 immigrants came here to escape the terrible violence taking place in their home countries,” said Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) spokesperson, Kica Matos.

“Instead of welcoming them and giving them the protection that they so desperately needed, our government arrested them, put them in detention centers, and deported them, with some being killed upon their return. Angel Diaz was shot to death on a bus four days after being deported. If the raids and deportations continue, President Obama will be responsible for the possible harm or even death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Their blood will be on his hands.”

Organizations are calling on the Obama Administration to immediately halt the raids, and join immigration leaders like Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Luis Gutierrez in asking the Administration to grant Central American families protective status.

Rev. Reuben D. Eckels, Pastor of New Day Christian Church and one of the leaders arrested at the demonstration added: “Today, as I take a stand against this injustice, I stand with and for the 83 people who died being detained and deported by the Obama administration. I stand with the hundreds and thousands of families living in the shadow of fear. Believing that this nation will live up to the pledge of allegiance that one day we will be a nation that stands for liberty and justice for all. No American, especially Americans such as myself, an African-American who ancestors were the recipients of harsh persecution, can or should sit by and not speak out against this tyranny.”

The activists included leaders from FIRM, We Are CASA, Junta for Progressive Action, USEU, New Day Christian Church, Connecticut Students for a Dream, Dreamers Mothers in Action, UltraViolet, Center for Community Change, Alianza Americas, The General Board of Church and Society, CARECEN, CISPES, DREAMers of Virginia, Dreamer’s Moms, ActionAid USA, Washington Peace Center, as well as families impacted by the raids.

A round-up of the incredible images from the demonstration urging the Obama Administration to halt the raids on Central American women and children is below.