What to Know
- A group of anti-ICE protesters gathered in Philadelphia Thursday, on July 4th.
- The group marched toward Philadelphia's July 4th parade. Police said their intent was to disrupt it.
- Police detained and cited 33 protesters from the group.
Multiple people protesting federal immigration policies were arrested Thursday as they converged at a Philadelphia Fourth of July parade.
The protesters had gathered in front of the Department of Homeland Security ICE field office in Center City before proceeding toward Independence Hall, where crowds were gathered for the city's Fourth of July parade. The protesters, from the "Never Again" group, were members of Jewish communities and immigrant leaders from Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey.
Philadelphia police said the protesters intended to disrupt the parade, and there was a brief interruption of it. Police detained and cited 33 people from the group.
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Carrying signs with phrases like "Free the children" and "Close the Camps," as well as a large "Never Again" banner, they called for elected officials to defund ICE and Customs and Border Protection, as well as close the detention facilities that are holding immigrants and asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Celebrating our freedom as a country while we have people in detention centers being held - it's not right; it shouldn't be done," said Elyse Cherry, who attended the protest with her toddler son.
Immigration has been a hot-button issue since the beginning of Donald Trump's presidency, exacerbated by his administration's policy - later reversed - of separating migrant children from their parents at the border.
Lawyers, observers and Congressional Democrats have detailed squalid conditions at detention centers, with people sleeping crowded on floors and many describing going days without showers or access to medication.
"I think it's sad to know that the United States government is incarcerating children, taking away their freedom, not letting them go out to the sun and play," said Miguel Andrade, spokesman for South Philadelphia immigrant rights organization Juntos.
"Everybody should be indignant at what's happening and what this administration is doing," he said.