L.A.-Area Immigration Arrests Spark Fear and Anger, But Federal Officials Say They Are Routine

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Arrests made by federal immigration officials in Southern California this week have heightened anxiety about a promised crackdown by President Trump on people in this country illegally.

Protesters converge on the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles during a rally against immigration arrests on Feb. 9, 2017. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles TImes)

Protesters converge on the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles during a rally against immigration arrests on Feb. 9, 2017. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles TImes)

The arrests sparked a protest in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday evening, with immigration advocates claiming that about 100 people had been taken into custody. But immigration officials disputed those numbers and said the arrests were part of routine activities, not tied to any new crackdown.

The situation highlighted fear among many immigrants about Trump’s vow to deport those here illegally. Los Angeles and Orange counties are home to 1 million immigrants living without proper papers, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

Some politicians said they were demanding answers from federal authorities about the arrests. Meanwhile, local police were fighting concerns that they were somehow involved in new immigration actions. Many law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department, have vowed not to take part in the mass deportations Trump and his supporters have promised.

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