PHOENIX — Immigration advocates and supporters rallied Saturday in cities across the country in a renewed effort to push President Barack Obama to put a freeze on deportations.
Organizers of the more than 50 planned “Day of Action” demonstrations said Obama has the executive power to stop deportations that separate immigrants living in the country illegally from their loved ones.
In Eloy, Ariz., more than 100 supporters converged in front of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center after journeying more than 60 miles from Phoenix.
Natally Cruz, an organizer with the grassroots group Puente Arizona, said many of the people in attendance have relatives who have been inside the facility for more than a year.
“We want President Obama and his administration to really hear our community members across the country, to understand we do not want one more person separated,” said Cruz, who entered the U.S. at age 8 illegally with her parents. “One family every night goes to bed missing somebody in their family.”
Many walked with signs saying “Not 1 More Deportation” and calling for deferred deportation action for all. The group included a woman whose son has been in the Eloy Detention Center for nearly three years and a woman who was arrested at her work and detained for two months, the group said.
The Eloy Police Department had about five officers monitoring the rally. Sgt. Brian Jerome said the demonstration was relatively peaceful with no arrests.
Amber Cargile, an ICE spokeswoman in Phoenix, said the agency respects the rights of people to protest outside its facilities.
“While we continue to work with Congress to enact commonsense immigration reform, ICE remains committed to sensible, effective immigration enforcement that focuses on its priorities, including convicted criminals and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States,” Cargile said.
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