More than 100 activists protested outside the Immigration Customs and Enforcement field office in downtown Atlanta on Monday, demanding that ICE and detention centers for unauthorized immigrants be shuttered.
Two protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct, a Department of Homeland official confirmed.
Demonstrators chanted “Close the camps – abolish ICE” in a protest that began at noon, one of a series of demonstrations called #NeverAgainIsNow in U.S. cities organized by a Jewish group called Never Again Action.
The protests coincided with scattered, unconfirmed reports of deportation raids in metro Atlanta on Monday. President Donald Trump had earlier said stepped-up raids, targeting immigrants in the country illegally, would begin this past weekend.
The demonstration outside ICE’s Atlanta office remained largely peaceful, but tensions rose when protesters tried to prevent vehicles from entering the facility and Homeland Security police intervened. Protesters also chained and handcuffed themselves to the entrance gate of the Atlanta Immigration Court, part of the same building complex.
By late afternoon, the number of protesters had dwindled.
Mallory Harris, a 23-year-old organizer, said the goal of the protest was to “shut down ICE” for the day by disrupting its schedule.
ICE said it respects the rights of protesters but remains committed to immigration enforcement consistent with federal law.
There was no evidence of large-scale roundups of unauthorized immigrants in Atlanta on Sunday, when Trump had said they would begin.
But Mario Guevara, an Atlanta-based reporter at Mundo Hispanico, a Spanish-language newspaper, reported “super active” enforcement operations in Marietta, Mableton and Norcross early Monday. Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, an immigrant advocacy group, also reported enforcement activity in Norcross.
Lindsay Williams, a local ICE spokesman, said he was unaware of any operations Monday.