• Thousands in Boston join nationwide immigration rights protests

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Thousands of people gathered by the Boston Common to march in unity as they protest President Trump's policies on immigration.

    Marches and rallies took place all across the nation, and in Boston protesters marched from City Hall Plaza at 11 a.m. 

    The march ended at Boston Common at 11:30 a.m., where the rally began shortly after, featuring several speakers, including those personally impacted by the Trump administration's immigration policies.

    Organized by civil rights and immigrant activists, the Facebook group created for the event rounded up 4,500 participants.

    In a separate protest after the Boston Common rally, 20 people were arrested without incident while at a march from Wellington Park to the ICE Detention Center. 

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    Protesters called on elected officials to protect community members by passing legislation protecting immigrants' basic human rights. 

    Providing due process to detained immigrants and not allowing local police to act as Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers asking about immigration statuses are just some of the many hot issues set to be discussed today.

    More than 700 planned marches drew hundreds of thousands of people across the country, from immigrant-friendly cities like New York and Los Angeles to conservative Appalachia and Indiana to the front lawn of a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas, near a detention center where migrant children were being held in cages.

    President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to show his support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement amid calls from some Democrats for major changes to immigration enforcement.

    Tweeting from New Jersey, President Trump said that Democrats “are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen.” He urged ICE agents to “not worry or lose your spirit.”

    Though many who show up to the rallies across the country were seasoned anti-Trump demonstrators, others were new to immigration activism, including parents who say they feel compelled to show up after heart-wrenching accounts of children forcibly taken from their families as they crossed the border illegally. In Portland, Oregon, for example, several stay-at-home moms have organized their first rally while caring for young kids.

    “I’m not a radical, and I’m not an activist,” said Kate Sharaf, a Portland co-organizer. “I just reached a point where I felt I had to do more.”

    Immigrant advocacy groups say they’re thrilled to see the issue gaining traction.

    All across the country, groups came together in city parks and downtown squares, and photos quickly started ricocheting around social media.

    The city says it's prepared to handle the large crowd expected to gather at the corner of Beacon and Charles streets.

    “We don’t anticipate any issues I know there’s going to be speeches by elected officials," said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans. "I know the issues here are very controversial so we’re always gearing up for heaven for bid we have the wrong group show up."

    STAY SAFE IN THE HEAT: WATCH: Heat Wave Hits

    Due to the forecasted high temperatures, the Commissioner is also encouraging participants to wear sunblock and keep themselves hydrated.

    If you're planning on being outside during the heat wave, officials are asking people to keep outdoor activities to a minimum during peak hours and are stressing the importance of making sure you don't expose yourself to heatstroke.

    For more information on beating the heat in the city, visit the city's official summer guide here. 

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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