Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have been conducting operations in Austin which has sparked protests against the action and rallies in support of immigrants.
ICE officials said they were just normal operations, but others at the rallies said they have never seen so much terror in this city.
Dave Cortez was at the Federal Building in downtown Austin and is against ICE deportations, “Several vans rolled out and took people to God knows where. I pray for them, I pray for their families, and that this terror is dealt with and resolved,” he said. “We are gathered to stand with immigrant families. I thought Austin was supposed to be a sanctuary city and we just witnessed how that's not the case.”
Overnight Friday other people were marching in North Austin in an area two ICE operations were caught on camera. Jose Lopez was a protester at that rally “I feel like they're targeting us, acting like we're criminals, or doing something bad. We're not. We're trying to come to the United States to be successful. President Trump and (Senator) Abbott sees us as criminals, but we're not. I'm just trying to become a better person and help the economy,” he said. The demonstration came to a halt early Saturday morning when fireworks set off at a vacant building caused a small fire.
The Mexican Consulate in Austin confirmed nearly 50 people have been taken into custody as of Saturday afternoon. They said ICE is specifically looking for those with criminal backgrounds, but some with no warrants have been taken into custody. They said if someone undocumented happens to be with someone being targeted, they could face the same deportation sentence.
ICE said these are not random sweeps and are part of daily operations based on investigative leads.
A lot of blame has been placed on President Trump, but many have come to his defense on social media and said these are similar operations comparable to our last president. According to numbers from ICE, 2.7 million undocumented people were deported during the Obama administration, more than any other president's administration in history.