U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says this week's arrests were merely an escalation of routine raids targeting illegal immigrants with criminal records. "Examples would include known street gang members, child sex offenders, and deportable foreign nationals with significant drug trafficking convictions," said an agency representative.
But protesters contend that is an inaccurate description of the raids, which they believe have broken up families and affected many people with no criminal history. "Oftentimes folks' liberties and their rights are violated during ICE raids," said Los Angeles protester Jessica Valenzuela, "where they're picked up without having adequate access to counsel, and that's one of the biggest concerns." See scenes from each city's protests below. Bonnie Kristian