Interfaith Leaders Arrested in Los Angeles Protest Against Destructive Immigration Policies

Interfaith Leaders Arrested in Los Angeles Protest Against Destructive Immigration Policies

April 13, 2017

Press Contact:

Elliot Levy

Press Contact


[email protected]

Release Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017


Los Angeles, CA — Activists from Bend the Arc Jewish Action today joined local faith leaders, the immigrant community, civil rights advocates, and other Muslim, Christian and Jewish activists in leading an act of civil disobedience to protest harsh immigration enforcement policies in Los Angeles and around the country. Dozens of rabbis and other individuals were arrested as they sat in front of the driveway of the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) to physically resist the efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to tear families apart.

The Interfaith Day of Action, planned by Bend the Arc and partners in the spirit of the holidays of Passover and Easter, demonstrated the solidarity of Los Angeles faith communities with immigrants in LA and across the U.S. living in constant fear of detention and deportation.

“On Passover, the Jewish community celebrates our liberation and our redemption,” said Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, Rabbi-in-residence at Bend the Arc and one of the faith leaders arrested during today’s action.  “We remember the many places where we sought refuge, and those who gave us refuge. We hear the suffering of the communities in Los Angeles and around the country that are being impacted by the terror of ICE’s aggressive policies, and say: ‘We hear you! You are welcome here! We will stand with you and against the oppressive power of ICE and the DHS.’”  

The Day of Action began with a gathering at Plaza Olvera and a march to the MDC.  At the MDC, participants engaged in prayer and education about Passover rituals, a Catholic feet-washing ritual and Muslim prayer. They called for an end to the destructive policies that have been intensified under the Trump administration—including detentions, raids and deportations—that threaten immigrants nationwide and the passage of legislation in California to ensure safety and security for immigrant communities. Protesters also heard testimony from members of the undocumented immigrant community, and raised up the case of Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, a 48-year-old Mexican immigrant who has lived and worked in the country for over 25 years and was detained in front of his wife and daughter after dropping off his other, 12-year-old daughter at school. The group then obstructed the MDC driveway and were arrested.

Bend the Arc Jewish Action has been a leader in organizing Jewish and interfaith communities in solidarity with immigrants. The group mobilized these communities by helping form the coalition that led the Day of Action, mobilizing Jewish participation, and organizing trainings in nonviolent civil disobedience for the coalition. Bend the Arc Jewish Action will also be participating in the national Rise Up! May 1 Day of Action in solidarity with immigrants, Muslims and other marginalized groups nationwide next month.

For more information about Bend the Arc Jewish Action’s work, contact Elliot Levy at [email protected] or 202-800-7409.