By: Amber Lee
POSTED: JAN 25 2018 (KTVU.com)
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – Dozens of people protested at the ICE offices in San Francisco’s financial district Thursday afternoon in response to raids that are expected in the Bay Area.
The group of demonstrators numbered about 40 – small, but vocal.
“If you come for the immigrants, you gotta come through us, if you come for the dreamers, you got to come through us,” demonstrated chanted.
Demonstrators say they oppose the recent ICE raids at 7-11 stores across the country and the much talked about sweeps planned in the Bay Area.
Several protestors of Latin and Middle Eastern descent say even though they’re American citizens, they are affected.
“I’m looking at people sideways, looking at policemen sideways. It puts a lot of trauma, angst and a lot of awareness of my skin color which wasn’t like this before,” says Manuel Rodriguez, who’s Mexican American.
Because of their skin color, Rodriguez and others say they now make sure to have identification with them when they leave home.
They say they’ve spoken with their children about the contribution of immigrants to this country and that deporting someone just for being undocumented is scapegoating.
“Wow, if it’s bad now, imagine when my kids are 20 years old. Racial profiling is going to be worse,” said Dave Ramos, a Salvadoran-American.
A spokesman for ICE issued a written statement saying it respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference: “The Department of Homeland Security remains committed to the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.”
“We need a movement of millions in the street and not just a movement that comes out for one day,” says Xochitl Johnson with Refuse Fascism, the group leading this protest.
Organizers are urging everyone who opposes the Trump administration policies on immigration to participate in nonviolent actions.
Leaders of other groups such as Women’s March San Francisco say the message is no Muslim ban, no wall, and sanctuary for all.
“Everybody should be coming out. It shouldn’t just be people who are activists or getting involved with the political scene. It should be very individual who cares about human beings,” said Sophia Andary with Women’s March San Francisco.
As darkness fell, the protestors blocked the driveway at the ICE building for a brief time, causing one vehicle trying to leave the parking lot to turn around and exit through another gate.
“A lot of us were at the Women’s March. We see the power of the people and now we want that power to get organized and mobilized to shut this entire agenda down,” says Johnson.
There were federal and San Francisco police officers on scene, but no one was arrested for blocking the driveway.
Another protest is planned outside the ICE building Friday at noon, followed by another on Monday at 4:00 p.m.
(Contributed by Ruthie Sakheim.)