The protest shut down Aliso Street and the on-ramps to the 10 and 5 freeways. The group held a vigil at the downtown office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Alameda Street. But immigration officials disputed those numbers and said the arrests were part of routine activities, not tied to any new crackdown, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to Jorge-Mario Cabrera, communication director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of L.A., the organization's attorneys confirmed there is a list of more than 100 people being detained at the ICE processing center in downtown Los Angeles.
A spokesperson with ICE said claims that a hundred people were arrested in a single day are "grossly exaggerated". "But this is business as usual on steroids". When he couldn't do so, he was detained, she said.
Immigration raids were carried out at homes in Santa Paula, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Downey and San Bernardino, with those detained being either people with deportation orders but no criminal background or family members of those sought who were home during the raids and told officials they lacked documentation, Cabrera said. "But it certainly seems like something that is not just routine".
She said the man has three children who are United States citizens. ICE agents then asked everyone in the home for identification, Pasquarella said. According to Pasquarella, that man has already been deported.
In an emailed statement, ICE said that any arrests made by the agency are not out of the ordinary. "Determinations about where and how ICE enforcement personnel affect both administrative and criminal arrests are made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all aspects of the situation, including the prospective target's criminal history; and safety considerations". But they would not say how many people were detained.
"It is now clear that the Trump administration is not concerned with public safety", de Leon said.
The arrests sparked a protest in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday evening, with immigration advocates claiming that about 100 people had been taken into custody. Meanwhile, local police were fighting concerns that they were somehow involved in new immigration actions.
A spokesperson for the LAPD also said that the department was not aware of any raids in the city.
Kenia C., a 16-year-old protester who said her parents are undocumented, said she fears the possibility of their arrest and deportation.
"That will tear our family apart. I had to come here and stand up for what I believe in", Kenia said. "Since my parents can't do it, I'll do it for them".
U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) issued a statement Thursday night calling for ICE to provide more information about its enforcement operations.