SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Protesters returned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in San Francisco’s Financial District Friday to rally against the crackdowns on undocumented immigrants.
“We’re really trying to call attention to what’s happening, and what ICE is doing as well as preparing the Bay Area to receive people,” said Gala King, of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.READ MORE: Bay Area Health Workers Cheer Newly-Approved 1-Shot Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Friday’s rally at the site which has seen frequent demonstrations comes as the federal government releases new statistics showing 158,581 undocumented immigrants have been arrested this year, an 11 percent increase over 2017.
ICE says that 90 percent of those arrested had criminal convictions, pending charges, or prior deportation orders.
“There is no question that these arrests positively impacted public safety and made our communities safer,” said Deputy ICE Director, Ronald Vitiello.READ MORE: Antioch Gas Station Shooting Leaves Man Suffering Life-Threatening Injuries
ICE says 256,085 people were removed from U.S. in 2018, a 13 percent increase over last year. Still, Vitiello reiterated President Trump’s demands for a border wall.
“The wall makes the border safer,” Vitiello said, “It makes the agents that work within it safer and it would reduce the workload on immigration enforcement across the board.”
The protesters say they are focused on seeing each immigrant as a person, not a document.
“We believe people deserve a second chance.,” said King. “We also believe there’s a criminal justice system that’s there to address crime and we have an immigration system and those should be separate.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Rally in San Mateo to Denounce Violence Against Asian Americans
The rally is a continuation of the seven years of vigils this group had been hosting outside of the West County Detention Center but they say they’ll be holding future vigils at the ICE building at 630 Sansome St. in San Francisco.