Hundreds march in downtown Phoenix against ICE policy in County jailsPosted: Updated:
Hundreds of people came together to protest Immigration and Customs agents at the 4th Avenue Jail, in support of immigrants and workers' rights on May Day, on Monday.
They gathered at the Arizona State Capitol around 4 p.m. and handed out shirts and got signs.
One of the organizers is Puente Arizona. While they applaud County Sheriff Paul Penzone shutting down Tent City, they want federal agents out his jails.
Every person that is booked must meet with an ICE agent. It is up to ICE to detain the people they have flagged based on their immigration status.
After a news conference, the protesters then marched to the jail at Fourth Avenue and Madison Avenue.
Chants of "shut down ICE" erupted as the marchers, led behind a black and white banner depicting Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone and the words "END THE CULTURE OF ARPAIO NOW!" flooded the streets.
Protesters weren't just concerned about ICE in the jails. They are concerned about deportations, national immigration reform and improving labor rights.
"We want to make sure our families aren't criminalized just for going to work," one protester said
Jacqueline Rayos, a 14-year-old from Mesa, Arizona, said she was marching to stop the separation of families. Her own mother was deported to Mexico this February.
"We need to unite in order for things to change because if we are just in our rooms doing nothing, crying, hoping things will change - that's not going to change anything," Rayos said.
Joel Cornejo, a 20-year-old from Tempe, Arizona, said the march helped the gathering communities raise their voices and make themselves heard to those in power.
Cornejo got involved as an immigrant advocate after his father took part in the Eloy Detention Center hunger strike in 2015 when hundreds of immigrants protested inhumane conditions and demanded greater access to legal assistance.
Monday's march was one of many events held worldwide in celebration of International Workers' Day. But the widespread protests in the United States were aimed directly at the new president and his crackdown on immigrant families.
Organizers for Promise Arizona met with lawmakers at the state's Capitol early Monday to deliver postcards with messages of hope from children of immigrant families.
Promise Arizona held a phone bank event Monday to urge U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake to support immigrant families across the nation. A community citizenship fair was also held Monday, which provided one-on-one assistance for applying for U.S. citizenship.
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