Thousands protest ICE across cities targeted for weekend raids

PHOTO: Hundreds of people gather in lower Manhattan for a "Lights for Liberty" protest against migrant detention camps and the impending raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement this coming weekend in various cities on July 12, 2019 in New York City.PlaySpencer Platt/Getty Images
WATCH ICE begins roundups of undocumented immigrants

Thousands of protesters kicked off the weekend ahead of threatened raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement with vigils, marches and rallies across the U.S.

Interested in Immigration?

Add Immigration as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Immigration news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

On Friday, crowds rallied from New York to Colorado to California to protest the proposed mass roundup and detention of undocumented immigrants that President Donald Trump announced would commence over the weekend.

Beginning Sunday, federal immigration officers are scheduled to sweep across what was originally 10 cities -- San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, Chicago and Atlanta -- to arrest about 2,000 undocumented immigrants as outlined by Trump. Because of Hurricane Barry, Houston and New Orleans, which were originally to be targeted in raids, will not see immigration enforcement actions, officials said.

Rallies were held in several of the named cities on Saturday, including Chicago and San Francisco.

"Were a proud sanctuary city, our police do not cooperate with an ICE enforcement action," said Berkeley, California, Mayor Jesse Arreguin.

Teri Bradley, a protester at Daley Plaza in Chicago Saturday afternoon, told ABC affiliate WLS, "We came here as immigrants. Immigrants are what have made this country. I wish that we could go down to those detention facilities and march on them and convince the people who work for ICE that what they're doing is morally wrong and you can't give up your morals for a job."

PHOTO: People protest against the upcoming ICE raids and detentions of refugee asylum seekers at a vigil outside the main ICE detention center (background) in downtown Los Angeles, July 12, 2019. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
People protest against the upcoming ICE raids and detentions of refugee asylum seekers at a vigil outside the main ICE detention center (background) in downtown Los Angeles, July 12, 2019.

This operation targets only undocumented immigrants with final removal orders, who will eventually be deported, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the matter. Significantly, the same official told ABC News, the operation will not arrest so-called collaterals, those people who happen to be with the targeted individuals.

"Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations," an ICE official told ABC News in a statement. "As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security."

Twenty people were rounded up in ICE raids in San Diego, the agency announced on Saturday. The arrests were part of a five-day enforcement operation and apparently not specifically tied to the raids mentioned by Trump. ICE said 85% of those arrested had prior criminal convictions or charges.

In New York, one of the 10 major cities initially targeted for raids by the administration, hundreds of demonstrators organized by the advocacy group "Lights for Liberty" marched on Manhattan's Foley Square late Friday, demanding a shutdown to overcrowded U.S. detention centers on the border. Attendees held signs saying, "Migration is a human right," "Shut down immigrant concentration camps," and "Homeland Security is taking freedom away."

Vigil attendees said it was important to protest the administration's crackdown.

"This event was a small chance to give a voice to the immense suffering and loss of everyone affected by policies that tear apart poor and vulnerable families and put them in detention centers where they are subject to torture, humiliation and death," New Yorker Travis Tinney told ABC News.

Fellow demonstrator Peter Ong echoed his sentiments, saying: "I wanted to express a posture of solidarity to the voices of opposition towards these inhumane conditions. The moment that struck me was the names of children who died while detained. I had to hold back tears -- a majority of the children were from Guatemala -- which is close to my heart because of a dear friend doing relief work there."

State and city officials are bracing for what might take place Sunday with these announced ICE operations.

Mesa, Arizona, Mayor John Giles, whose city is 150 miles from the Mexican border, told ABC News Live that -- based on what he's heard -- he's "not sure we're going to see something extraordinary that's going to provoke outrage from the community. "

"We’ll wait and see if this is something different than business as usual, or not," Giles said. "We all understand that we have immigration laws, and it’s important that we enforce them, not just at the border but in the interior of our country."

PHOTO: Hundreds of people gather in lower Manhattan for a Lights for Liberty protest against migrant detention camps and the impending raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement this coming weekend in various cities on July 12, 2019 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Hundreds of people gather in lower Manhattan for a "Lights for Liberty" protest against migrant detention camps and the impending raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement this coming weekend in various cities on July 12, 2019 in New York City.

"We also understand that we have 10 million undocumented people living in the U.S., and it’s a fool's errand to think you can deport that many people," he said. "You have to prioritize how you do enforcement in the interior of the country and it sounds like these most recent raids are targeting folks with orders of deportation and those with criminal records."

In Aurora, Colorado, about 2,000 people rallied outside an ICE detention facility Friday night, also organized by “Lights for Liberty" gathered for an event called "A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps,” also demanding migrant detention facilities to be closed, according to The Denver Post.

In Southern California, thousands also turned out on Friday to protest at several different demonstrations.

In West Hollywood, politicians including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gathered to protest the raids, according to ABC station KABC.

"Everybody knows that every country has a right to secure its borders and enforce its immigration laws, but we do so consistent with our values," Villaraigosa told the crowd.

Another group organized by "Lights for Liberty" held a vigil near downtown Los Angeles' Metropolitan Detention Center, and held a vigil at Santa Ana's Civic Center Plaza downtown in Orange County.

Washington Governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee, whose northwestern state has sued the Trump administration several times over immigration policy, told ABC News Live that he and his state's attorney general are prepared to sue in federal court at the first sign constitutional rights are threatened.

"We are monitoring this very carefully, and we have been vigorously enforcing the law and constitutional rights of people," Inslee said. "We have now sued and defeated Donald Trump 22 times in a row. I was the first governor to stand up against his illegal Muslim ban. If we find there is any violations of the law or the Constitution with these raids, we will vigorously defend the rights of anyone in our state."

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky, Devin P. Dwyer, Stephanie Ebbs and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.