Protest shuts down New Orleans traffic, 22 arrests
A crowd of several hundred pro-immigrant activists blocked a downtown New Orleans intersection Thursday to protest what they describe as "harsh" and "devastating" tactics by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Officials say the protest, organized by the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, resulted in the arrest of 18 immigrants and four activists.
Saket Soni, executive director of the Center for Racial Justice and one of those arrested, said ICE has rolled out a new program in the New Orleans area called the Criminal Alien Removal Initiative. Instead of targeting specific individuals, typically those considered dangerous or with criminal backgrounds, for deportation, Soni said ICE has been conducting indiscriminate raids.
Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesman in New Orleans, said the CARI program specifically targets people considered to be high-priority.