BOSTON — Hundreds of protesters blocked off city streets on Tuesday as they rallied to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Eighteen people were detained by police during the 4 p.m. rally, according to the group Never Again Action, which organized the protest against ICE detention centers.
"Families are being starved and kept in essentially refrigerators until they sign their own deportation papers and this cannot go on," organizer Emilia Feldman said.
The group opposes the separation of children and families at the border, according to its social media posts.
Comparing ICE detention centers to concentration camps run by the Nazis during World War II, the protesters shouted: "Never again means close the camps! Never again means close the camps!"
"It was not this hard when white people came to the shores of this land and who still occupy this land and tell us that our communities are not allowed to be here," Feldman said. "It was not that hard back then and it should not be that hard now."
Protesters began marching from the New England Holocaust Memorial on Union Street and through Massachusetts Avenue, all the way to the detention center in Dorchester.
Boston Police had to close some streets during rush hour traffic as people marched to the detention center.
The protesters included "an unaffiliated group of immigrants, allies, and Jewish activists, clergy, and laypeople across the religious and political spectrum," according to a press release issued by the group.
"Congress needs to shut down ICE immediately and ensure freedom and permanent protection for all undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers," Never Again Action said in its release. "Until Congress steps up, we are making it impossible for ICE to do business as usual."
Some of the protesters were detained Tuesday as the group tried to shut down the detention center.
Meanwhile, hundreds sang and waved to the inmates inside the center, promising to come back again.
"We hope that they hear us. We hope that they know we will not stop fighting for them – they are the reason why we are here," Feldman said.
Cox Media Group