Protesters from Puente Arizona marched from Indian Steele Park in Phoenix to ICE headquarters and the office of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery demanding that all charges be dropped against the people who were the focus of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's workplace raids.
The protesters said they hoped to highlight the link between family separation and Montgomery's decision to maximize charges against the people in question, following ICE's roadmap for securing deportations.
"We march with the families to ask Bill Montgomery to recognize the illegality of local police immigration raids and drop the criminal charges of workers simply trying to feed their families," said protester Carlos Garcia of Puente Arizona.
Montgomery issued the following statement in response to the march:
"I support people exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances and to speak freely, rights which, among others, more than one million Americans have died defending. Today's demonstrations highlight the consequences of our federal government's failure to address a broken immigration system and to properly secure our borders.
"While I continue to support reasonable and necessary federal immigration reforms, I remain equally committed to enforcing the laws I have sworn to uphold as County Attorney. My Office will continue to make charging decisions based on an individual's conduct -- not his or her race, ethnicity or residency status. We do not initiate prosecutions to achieve a particular immigration outcome, nor do we control the federal consequences of state-level convictions. I reject any call to treat one particular group more or less harshly than any other, or to mix politics with criminal justice."
Upon reaching ICE headquarters, several family members were scheduled to give statements.
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