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Immigrants' Rights Groups Rally Against ICE Arrests Outside Sonoma County Courthouse

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) -- Members of immigration rights organizations rallied outside Sonoma County Superior Court in Santa Rosa Tuesday morning to protest the arrest of two immigrants at the courthouse last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The arrests on Feb. 18 illustrated the standoff between federal immigration officials and local cities, counties and the state of California that have declared themselves as sanctuaries for immigrants.

"We heard (President Donald) Trump threaten more aggressive activity in the sanctuaries is very likely and it's why the raids were conducted here to send a message," Renee Saucedo, a program director with the Graton Day Labor Center, said at the Tuesday morning protest. "They don't care about state or local policies that protect undocumented immigrants," Saucedo said.

The Sonoma County District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office and County Counsel's offices last week condemned the arrests, and Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said his office did not collaborate with Department of Homeland Security agents in the arrests.

The arrests last week dissuade immigrants from accessing the services they are entitled to, Saucedo said.

"Our alliance of organizations will follow the leadership of the immigrants themselves and we will work with local and state officials to make sure this never happens again," Saucedo said.

Speakers at the protest called for an end of ICE's presence in the county, the separation of families and what they said was the terrorizing of community members.

"We are dehumanized, mistreated and attacked, even hunted," one woman said. Supporters chanted, "Enough is Enough!" and "No More ICE in Sonoma County!"

"I'm not mad, I'm sad about how ICE is destroying families," Eliseo Dominguez with the Graton Day Labor Center said.

"We no longer want to feel like hunted animals. I live here to work and have a better life for me and my family. We are not criminals, we are a community of workers. We don't want ICE in our parks and in our cities," Dominguez said.

Other immigrant rights organizations at the protest included the North Bay Rapid Response Network, ALMAS-Active Women's Labor Solidarity Alliance, North Bay Jobs With Justice and North Bay Organizing Project.

ICE officials weren't immediately available to comment on the arrests or Tuesday's rally.

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