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Hundreds of people in Washington, D.C. took to the streets on Monday to protest recent discriminatory Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in the city.
“Not in our neighborhood, not in our city” chants could be heard while signs that read “full rights for all immigrants” could be seen in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.
The protest comes days after at least 12 undocumented immigrants were arrested in a series of ICE raids in the Mt. Pleasant, Petworth, and Columbia Heights neighborhoods last week.
Among those who were arrested was a 23-year-old husband and father of a young U.S. citizen child, from Guatemala.
The man had recently been assaulted, so when ICE agents knocked on his apartment building door, he and his wife thought they were city police officers following up on the investigation. Instead, they took him and his brother into custody.
“They deceived me, and now I have no hope,” his wife told the Washington Post. “My husband wanted to cooperate. He never thought it would be immigration. It’s not far.”
It was unclear what basis ICE had for choosing its targets, — including a man who was simply eating at a restaurant in Columbia Heights and a number of immigrants living at the Sarbin Towers apartment building in Mt. Pleasant. At one point, they came into a building looking for two individuals but arrested two different ones. Washington, D.C. is a safe city and advocates said the arrests were unusual.
Those in attendance at the Monday protest called on Mayor Muriel Bowser to do more to stop the raids from happening and protect immigrants.
Ben Beachy from Sanctuary DMV said:
They are our neighbors. They came to escape death threats in Central America and poverty in Mexico. If D.C. aspires to be a sanctuary, it needs to do more to prevent this.”
Check out more photos from the protest: