Religious groups protest ICE raids in Northern California

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An emotional crowd of demonstrators, many from local churches, gathered to protest word of immigration actions this week. (KGO-TV)

The sound of Jewish faith songs floated in the air outside immigration enforcement offices in San Francisco on Friday. An emotional crowd of demonstrators, many from local churches, gathered to protest word of immigration actions this week at dozens of Northern California businesses.

RELATED: New concern after ICE agents hit 77 NorCal businesses

"I'm feeling both a sense of urgency around knowing that 77 businesses have been audited, and also knowing DACA ends in March," said Susan Lubeck with Bend the Arc Jewish Action.

Many in the crowd pledged to defend undocumented workers and their employers. Bay Area Assemblyman David Chiu is the author of a new state law requiring business owners to alert their employees if ICE agents contact them for employee information, and to demand to see a judicial warrant before granting them access.

RELATED: Santa Clara Co. community defense project seeks to protect immigrant families

"There's also a network of lawyers and nonprofit organizations that are available and ready to work with immigrant workers and their employers to make sure due process is met," Chiu points out.

But critics like former California Republican party chairman Tom Del Beccaro believe sanctuary laws will ultimately drive businesses out of the state.

RELATED: South Bay supervisor calls ICE raids at 7-Eleven stores 'tragic'

"So I think this fuels more division and it gives big corporations another excuse to leave," says Beccaro.

But back on the street, organizers are promising daily protests, with the fear of increased ICE raids in California and the fate of the so-called Dreamers immigration program known as DACA still undecided in Washington.

RELATED: Report: ICE to start tracking license plates across US

Click here for more stories about immigration.

Written and produced by Tim Didion
Related Topics:
politicsimmigrationimmigration reformICEraidemploymentprotestdepartment of homeland securityreligionSan Francisco
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