SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - As undocumented immigrants brace for weekend ICE raids, advocates and concerned citizens around the country came together to protest the treatment of immigrants in detention centers.
Some 700 Lights for Liberty events took place nationwide and hundreds gathered in downtown Santa Barbara Friday night.
Emotions were running high with a strong showing of support.
Ralliers say they want to address threats of mass deportations and are calling for an end to human detention camps and the inhumane conditions at the border.
We are not taking nobody’s job and we are just here to have a better life,” said a woman named Zoila.
Standing in solidarity with migrant families, hundreds mobilized in Santa Barbara.
“We need human dignity and respect,” said Jacqueline Inda with the Santa Barbara Response Network. “It’s not even the enough is enough, it’s just we have to unite and we have to be better than this in this country and we were founded to be better than this,” she adds.
President Donald Trump confirming on Friday that ICE agents will conduct weekend raids this Sunday.
Immigration advocates are fearful that thousands of migrant families will be targeted
“I receive calls daily from people being picked up from ICE where in the background you’re hearing families broken,” said Julissa Peña, Immigrant Legal Defense Center Executive Director.
From the Courthouse down State Street and to City Hall, those marching with Lights for Liberty are speaking out for those who can’t and say we’re stronger together.
“We are a country in mourning. People are desperate, distressed, depressed, divided and dreading what could come next,” said a protest speaker.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls and been talking to a lot of common community members who feel so much fear but they show so much resilience at the same time and I think that seeing this crowd shows that our community is ready. We are ready and we’re not going to be scared and we’re ready to fight and we’re also ready to show love for our community,” said Alejandra Melgoza, CAUSE.
Thousands were expected to gather in Camarillo and a peaceful gathering also took place in Santa Maria.
The exact locations of the weekend raids are unknown, but Los Angeles and San Francisco are expected to be targeted, leaving many on the Central Coast on edge.