LOS ANGELES (CNS) - City Councilman Mike Bonin and 17 other demonstrators were arrested today during a protest outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in downtown Los Angeles decrying the federal agency's handling of undocumented families entering the country.
The demonstrators began gathering about 9 a.m. outside ICE headquarters at 535 N. Alameda St., and by late morning, police declared an unlawful assembly and started to clear the street.
A total of 18 demonstrators, including Bonin, were taken into custody, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Tessie Borden, a spokeswoman for the protesters, said the demonstration was part of ``a nationwide call to end the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's immoral separation of families.''``(Last) weekend, people in rallies across the nation protested ICE's policies to separate families and, alternately, to pen them together in isolated internment camps,'' Borden said.
``People of all backgrounds, including political leaders at the federal and local level, are beginning to call for the abolition of ICE.''
In a statement prior to the rally, Bonin said: ``When the government rips kids from their parents' arms, opens baby jails, and throws families seeking asylum into internment camps, how does a parent not risk arrest? What's happening is sick and evil, and treating it like a mere policy disagreement is absurd and complicit. For our kids, for our country, and for our humanity, we need to roar and to resist -- with our voices and with our bodies.''Bonin was cited and eventually released from custody.
``Our government, in our name, is ripping children from their mothers,'' Bonin told the crowd at the gathering. ``It's putting children in baby jail.''Speaking to L.A. CityView following his release, Bonin called the separation of families a ``sick and evil policy'' and ``just absolutely morally repugnant.''``The idea that someone can be doing this in our name ... is deeply offensive, and I think as Americans, as human beings, as parents, we all need to be standing up,'' he said.
For several weeks, the Trump administration's ``zero tolerance'' policy on undocumented immigrants -- including the now-rescinded policy of separating children from their parents when they are apprehended at the Mexican border -- has sparked an international outcry. President Donald Trump agreed to rescind the separation part of the policy in late June, but opponents say the administration has no plan for the speedy reunification of those families and that more than 2,000 children are being held in detention centers around the country. On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department filed papers in Los Angeles federal court seeking to have the families held together, indefinitely, in detention centers.
On Saturday, Trump wrote on his Twitter account: ``When people come into our Country illegally, we must IMMEDIATELY escort them back out without going through years of legal maneuvering. Our laws are the dumbest anywhere in the world. Republicans want Strong Borders and no Crime. Dems want Open Borders and are weak on Crime!''