Families rally to demand ICE release loved ones

Jacqueline Quynh talks to families who say immigration policies have torn them apart.

NEW ORLEANS -- The children of alleged illegal immigrants pleaded to the head of the New Orleans Immigration and Customs Enforcement Friday to release their parents in time for Mother's Day. 

A small crowd gathered outside of David Rivera's office chanting in both Spanish and English. They were hoping for a meeting with Rivera to make their case.

Tania Acosta-Paz, a mom of two kids in the crowd, said she hopes people passing by are paying attention to their message.

"Hopefully they're passing by, and they're reading, and they're seeing what's going on," she said.

Eyewitness News met Paz earlier in the day as she was preparing to join the demonstration. She recalled what happened the night ICE agents took away her husband.

"He was picked up at the house, and since then we've been with this nightmare."

Since May  2016 she's been trying to get him home. Paz claims his only issue was not having the right papers, which she claims he was working to get. 

"I'm not the type of person to do this; I have to fight for my family," she said.

It wasn't easy for Paz and her kids to come out.

"Families are suffering, mothers and children, for the sake of what ICE is doing," she said.

She said she wants to fight as President Donald Trump pushes to crackdown on illegal immigration.  There are also two immigration bills in the state legislature. That's why Paz joined other families at the rally organized by the New Orleans Center for Racial Justice.  She wants to call for a solution, that she believes won't rip families apart.

As part of the event, children like Paz's daughter shared their story. 

"Last year it was my birthday, a few days later, immigration took him," said Isabella Acosta-Paz.

For now, their fight continues, but they hope people will remember their story as the immigration issue continues. 

We reached out to the ICE office for a response, but have yet to hear back.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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