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Immigration protest underway at Elizabeth detention center Thursday

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Anthony Johnson reports on an immigration rally in Elizabeth.

A protest against national immigration enforcement was underway Thursday morning in New Jersey.

Hundreds of immigrants, elected officials, labor leaders and clergy members gathered at the Elizabeth Detention Center to protest President Trump's immigration actions.

They chanted against recent raids by federal immigration authorities and against Trump's proposed wall on the Mexican border.

Five activists blocking a street with a sign reading "No More Deportations" and wearing butterfly wings were arrested on Thursday outside of the center.

The center, run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), stands to profit from Trump's deportation machine, housing hundreds of immigrants facing deportation, according to a statement from Make the Road New Jersey, which is leading the protest.

Make the Road New Jersey is an immigrant rights organization based in Elizabeth.

Mary Levai, of Upper Montclair, said that it was important for her to show up at the protest "to go on record saying everyone belongs here."

"Don't shut the gate. Don't shut the wall. We're all Americans," she said. "Shame on the people who would elevate themselves just because they were born here."

New immigration enforcement memos signed this week call for sending some immigrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally back into Mexico - even those from third countries who have no connection to Mexico.

The memos also prioritize deportation for anyone charged or convicted of any crime, rather than just serious crimes, potentially subjecting millions in the U.S. illegally to deportation, including many Mexicans.

Following the rally, community members planned to march to the office of New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th) in Westfield, demanding that he denounce Trump's raids.

32BJ SEIU, American Friends Service Committee and Working Families Alliance, N.J., are among the organizations participating, organizers said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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