Police report no arrests thus far as demonstrators gather outside the Federal Building, where a vocal crowd is protesting the Trump administration’s use of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to separate immigrant families who entered the country illegally.
Extra patrols were in place at the Wilshire Boulevard location in preparation for Saturday’s demonstration, said Officer Christopher No of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section.
“We always prepare in advance. Everything is quiet so far,” No said.
Saturday’s demonstration in Westwood followed an all-night demonstration outside the downtown Metropolitan Detention Center on Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles that started Friday.
The protesters made their way onto the loading dock area of the center before police pushed them back to the street, ABC7 reported.
“We continue to put pressure on the administration,” organizer Carlos Marroquin told the station. “We want to have just and fair immigration policies, and I think this is the time.”
Protesters told the station’s reporter that they plan to camp out all weekend on the street in front of the detention center.
Although President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday reversing the family separations, government officials said only about 500 of the roughly 2,3000 children taken from their parents have been reunited with relatives.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday that his office is working to identify and help the estimated 100 migrant children who are believed to be in the Los Angeles area after being separated from their parents at the Mexican border by immigration authorities.
But he said the federal government is not providing any information about the children and there is no legal means for the city to compel it to do so.
Garcetti said his office believes the children in the city were being placed in group homes and foster care through organizations that are contracted with the federal government, and also that most of the children are believed to be “among the very youngest.”
“They may be so young they cannot tell us who their parents are,” Garcetti said while speaking to reporters at City Hall.
The mayor just returned from a trip to Texas where he held a news conference Thursday with a bipartisan group of mayors outside a federal immigration detention facility where other children separated from their parents at the border are believed to be located. He said all of the info his office is getting on children in the L.A. area is not coming from the federal government.
“We have to demand from federal authorities any records. We don’t even know if they kept any records,” Garcetti said, adding that there is no law on the books for the city to compel the federal government to provide it with any information on the children.
Trump’s new order requires immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally, although some of the details on how long they would be held were unclear. The order comes after the administration had faced bipartisan pressure to end the separation policy.
When announcing the change during a news conference at the White House, Trump said, “We are very strong at the border. We’re very strong on security, we want security for our country. Republicans want security and insist on security for our country. And we will have that. At the same time we have compassion, we want to keep families together.”