PHOENIX - Protesting immigration activists danced and chanted Monday outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix, calling on President Barack Obama to end all deportations.
The protesters marched roughly a mile from Margaret T. Hance park in downtown Phoenix park to the ICE office that was closed Monday. Many federal offices are closed due to the federal Columbus Day holiday.
The protesters chanted "no more deportations" and "shut down ICE."
Organizers say they want deportations stopped so that families can stay together.
Immigration reform had been a key topic in Congress until the partial federal government shutdown started Oct. 1, which has largely stalled talks on anything else but getting a budget hammered out and averting a government default looming Thursday.
The Phoenix protest drew about 250 people and comes on the heels of several other protests nationwide.
Earlier this month, House Democrats unveiled an immigration bill proposing an extended path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants illegally present in the U.S., along with heightened border security, but hopes waned of any action taking place by year's end as the budget stalemate dragged on.
Phoenix police lined the road, keeping people off the streets and monitoring for any actions that would merit arrests.
"Arizona to us is what Mississippi became to the African-American community in the civil rights movement. This is the worst place in America and that's why we are here," said immigration rights activist Alfredo Gutierrez..
Barb Heller, who's against the protest said "As far as I'm concerned, they need to deport them all. Let them come back the right way. I'm not anti-immigrant, but I believe in following the lay of the law."
Most immigration proceedings are on hold during the partial federal government shutdown, but deportations continue.
Organizers say this is the beginning of a national launch to get the attention of the President, so we should expect similar protests in the weeks to come.
ICE could not be reached for comment due to the shutdown.
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