Kitzia Esteva, an organizer with Causa Justa::Just Cause, called the Mission a “hub” for Central American refugees and immigrants, a role she says it has played since the 1980s. At least two of those arrested at the protest work in the Mission.
Esteva said her organization has seen several Mission residents being taken into custody as a result of raids on Central American families and the Priority Enforcement Program, a federal initiative targeting undocumented immigrants with a criminal record.
Lara called today’s protest a success, and noted that the willingness to be arrested sends a message.
The 16 protesters who were later arrested seated themselves in the center of the two intersections, and had chained themselves together. Remaining protesters gathered around them, blocking traffic for several hours. Shortly after noon, some 30 police officers assembled, announced that the protest was unpermitted and that anyone who refused to get on the sidewalks away from the intersection would be arrested.
“I think it was important for us as to why the families that are coming and the minors that are coming are coming – not just because there’s violence in their country but because that violence was really created by the U.S. and the way that we intervened in Central America. Really, these families are owed reparations if nothing else,” Esteva said.
The protest was a coordinated effort between two cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Immigrant advocates around the state organized the rallies to demand that officials end the practice of deporting refugee families back into violent conflicts in their home countries and recognize asylum seekers as refugees.
Via Mission Local News: