Photos: Immigration Protest Blocks DTLA Intersection

Hundreds of protesters aiming to call attention to President Obama's latest round of deportations blocked traffic in front of the downtown building this morning where ICE has its offices.

A dozen protesters gathered at 8 a.m. in front of the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building near Los Angeles and Temple streets this morning, according to NBC Los Angeles. Their protests prompted the shutdown of the 101 Freeway exit ramp at Los Angeles Street. Hours later their numbers swelled to 300, and they were sitting and blocking the intersection. LAPD told KPCC that no arrests had been made, but they were planning to declare an unlawful assembly shortly after 10 a.m.

Immigrant rights organizations throughout the state have been banding together to call attention to the plight of Central American migrants who were arrested earlier this month in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.

"We're responding to the Obama administration's continuing policy of conducting raids and persecuting mothers and children who are from Central America and who are seeking asylum and protection," Tessie Borden, director of communications at Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), told KPCC. "We are preparing for them, and we are protesting the policy."

Last week 22 Democratic senators asked Obama to halt the latest round of federal deportation raids. The Associated Press reported:

In a letter, the senators wrote that the raids were sweeping up mothers and children who face threats of violence and death when they are returned to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

"We are troubled by the priorities reflected in these enforcement actions," the lawmakers wrote. "It is important to evaluate this as a humanitarian and refugee crisis involving a vulnerable population and not strictly as a border security and immigration enforcement matter."

The senators said the tactic of using highly publicized raids, sometimes in the pre-dawn hours, was "shocking and misguided." They also rejected administration arguments that the operations would deter additional immigrants from fleeing the region to the U.S., saying, "That argument relies on the false premise that most of these people are not fleeing extraordinary danger."

White House spokesman Peter Boogaard told the Associated Press, "While we recognize the serious underlying conditions that cause some people to flee their home countries, we cannot allow our borders to be open to illegal migration. Those who come here illegally will be sent home after being provided an opportunity to have their cases and humanitarian claims heard, consistent with our laws and values."

Here are some photos from today's protest: