Sea of Protesters on Boston Common Protests Immigration Laws

More than a thousand people gathered on Boston Common Friday for an immigration protest and a candlelight vigil.

The sea of demonstrators was protesting the status of immigration laws in the U.S. ahead of expected raids this weekend by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

At the vigil, participants also honored the lives of immigrants who have died fleeing to the U.S.

The Boston rally was part of a series of events across the country by "Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps."

An ICE operation to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrants in major cities is scheduled to begin Sunday after it had been postponed by President Donald Trump over two weeks ago, two senior officials with the Department of Homeland Security confirmed to NBC News

The raids, which are sparking outrage and concern among immigrant advocates and opposition from Democrats, will take place over multiple days and include "collateral" deportations, The New York Times first reported, citing two current and one former homeland security officials who were not named. In those cases, ICE agents might detain people who were not initially targeted, but happened to be there during the raids. The final details of the operation "remain in flux" for security reasons, the report said.

Officials not authorized to discuss the matter publicly also told The Associated Press it's possible the operations could start later. 

Still, activists ramped up efforts to prepare by bolstering know-your-rights pocket guides, circulating information about hotlines and planning public demonstrations. Vigils outside of detention centers were set for Friday, to be followed by protests Saturday in Miami and Chicago.

At least 2,000 immigrant families, including many who face final deportation orders yet remain in the country illegally, are expected to be targeted in the operation, the unnamed officials said. 

The raids are expected to target 10 cities that were previously revealed, though some of the cities may change before Sunday, a source told NBC News. Previously named cities were: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. 

In New Orleans, any operations were put on hold due to severe weather. The city tweeted that it confirmed with ICE that enforcement would be suspended through the weekend as the region braced for the first hurricane of the season.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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