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Protesters jam entrances to federal immigration in downtown Milwaukee

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Protesters jam entrances to federal immigration in downtown Milwaukee

By Jonah Kaplan. CREATED Jun 19, 2014 - UPDATED: Jun 19, 2014

Scroll through the gallery above to see photos from the protest.

MILWAUKEE - This was a local chorus to a national campaign.

Flanked by signs and slogans in two languages, several dozen protesters stood, sat, sang and shouted at the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office on E. Knapp Street.
 
"I'm just so happy everyone is here to support me," a young protester, Brianna Lopez, told TODAY'S TMJ4. "I haven't been able to say hi to my dad because he's been locked up."
 
Lopez, 11, was the protesters' face of this rallying cry. They called for the end of deportations of immigrants in Milwaukee and across the country.
 
Lopez's dad, Manual, was arrested and detained last month.
 
"My dad taught me everything," a tearful Lopez explained.
 
No doubt Brianna will always see her dad as a hero; Homeland Security and ICE, however, see Manuel Lopez through the lens of the law.
 
Police arrested Manuel last month along with nearly two dozen other immigrants accused of gang ties and criminal records. The feds continue to conduct these sweeps across the country, under the name Operation Community Shield.
 
Lopez, a native of Mexico, pled guilty to trafficking cocaine here in Milwaukee 14 years ago.

According to ICE's website, Operation Community Shield launched in 2005. Agents and partners have so far arrested more than 31,200 gang members and associates, representing more than 2,400 different gangs and cliques.

Jonah Kaplan

Jonah Kaplan

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Originally from Philadelphia, Jonah Kaplan loves the culture, character and pride of Milwaukee. He's won top awards for his reporting of breaking news and severe weather.