Demonstrators Protest ICE Raids, Detention of Echo Park Pastor

About two dozen people protested U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement raids and the detention of several community members Tuesday, a day after a pastor was arrested during an appointment with an immigration officer.

Demonstrators gathered in front of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles and held a rally for about 40 minutes Tuesday morning, with several activists calling on immigration officials to halt ICE raids being carried out in local neighborhoods.

They also demanded the release of Noe Carias, whose arrest has sparked outrage.

Carias, 42, "who now leads an evangelical church near Echo Park, was first deported in 1993 after crossing illegally into the United States as a teenager," the Los Angeles Times reported. "The Guatemala native then returned to the U.S. and ignored a second deportation order in 1995."

"According to lawyer Noemi Ramirez, Carias, who is married to a U.S. citizen, had been granted two one-year stays in January 2015 and April 2016," the Times reported. "Earlier this year, a third stay was denied."

His wife said he has no criminal record, but at his immigration check-in Monday morning, "Ramirez said, 'they decided to say he's removable because of his '95 decision,'" reported the Times.

NBC4's media partner KPCC reported that ICE would not give details of his "case nor confirm that he has a clean criminal record. An ICE spokeswoman would only say by email that "all decisions are made on a case-by-case basis."

"Carias was detained as his wife, Victoria Carias, was waiting in the lobby of the downtown building housing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office," according to the Times. "Victoria Carias said her husband had told her they would grab brunch after his appointment."

"He's a good man, he's a pastor, he's been a good citizen," Victoria Carias told the Times. "He's never done anything wrong. The only thing he did was come here illegally."

Ramirez told KPCC late Monday afternoon he "would likely be transferred to a detention facility."

Protesters argued Tuesday that Carias, along with other undocumented parents currently detained, should be reunited with their loved ones.

"Border patrol is supposed to be working on the border, we're 132 miles away from the border," a woman at the protest said. "They're not supposed to be in our communities, and yet they're coming here and they're terrorizing our communities and that's the reason why we're fighting back."

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