The panicked emails and phone calls began streaming in from community members at about 11 a.m. Thursday morning, inundating Los Angeles immigration lawyers with far more cases than usual. Immigrant advocate groups claim that more than 100 people had been taken into custody by federal immigration officials in Southern California Thursday, indicating a “coordinated sweep” in arrests and heightening fears that Donald Trump’s promise to crackdown on deportations had begun to take effect.
Police and immigration officials denied the “raids” and disputed the claim that the arrests were part of a more stringent approach, saying any detentions were simply part of “routine” enforcement activities. But a flurry of calls regarding arrests spurred immigration attorneys into rapid response efforts, and prompted protests on the streets of downtown Los Angeles.
“We know the daily patterns of people being picked up and taken,” Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or CHIRLA, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “There’s a natural flow of enforcement that happens every day. But this was not normal.”
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