ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Tensions flared outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Atlanta.
One man was detained by guards after he chained himself to the front gate. His wife tried to follow him into the building which led to an altercation between protesters and the guards.
The protest, organized in part by Jewish activists, was in response to an announcement that Atlanta would be one of several major cities targeted by ICE.
“If ICE is making arrests, we want to make sure the constitutional rights of our community members are not violated,” said Adelina Nicholls with the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR).
GLAHR formed a rapid response team called the “ICE Chasers” which is comprised of several groups of people who go to homes around 5 a.m. handing out flyers to inform immigrants of their rights if ICE officials show up.
“They can remain at their houses without opening the door,” Nicholls said, holding up one of the flyers. “The Constitution allows that unless they present a judicial warrant. We go house-by-house, door-to-door, face-to-face to talk about the Constitutional rights.”
So far, there have not been any reports of ICE raids or arrests. The enforcement was supposed to begin Sunday morning. Some of the protesters suggested the announcement was a political scare tactic.
The group El Refugio Ministry is based in Lumpkin, Georgia near the Stewart Detention Center where many ICE detainees are held. Ironically, this week they announced a previously planned initiative called their “post-release program.”
El Refugio executive director Amilcar Valencia tells CBS46 that oftentimes, detained immigrants are released late at night at a Greyhound bus stop without resources or help.
“Some people have family members who can wait for them and pick them up or buy a bus ticket for them, but sometimes they don't have anyone in the United States, especially the asylum seekers who don't know anything about where to go or how to navigate the system.”
El Refugio ministry helps find housing, food, and resources to get people to a safe and stable place after detention. They're looking to expand the program in Atlanta by September.