The traditional Rose Parade in Pasadena was followed Friday by a march organized by supporters of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders as a protest against immigration raids and deportations.

"We wish to denounce the continuing injustice toward immigrants, with the always possible deportations of Central American refugees by the authorities," Carlos Marroquin, an organizer of the protest, told EFE on Friday.

Sanders supporters marched immediately behind the Rose Parade in what traditionally has been called "The People's Parade."

On Dec. 24, various U.S. media outlets reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement planned a series of raids targeting thousands of families that entered the country illegally since 2014, mostly Central Americans.

The United States "should protect" those refugees and, "as Bernie says, allow its 11 million undocumented immigrants come out of the shadows because they cooperate and are part of the way this country works," Marroquin said.

The activist said some 1,000 union and immigrant leaders were taking part in the protest.

The pro-immigrant march, dubbed "Feel the Bern Rose Parade March," got started around 10 a.m., once the 127th Rose Parade had finished, which had begun two hours before with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns as the grand marshal.

During the six-mile Rose Parade, close to 700,000 onlookers enjoyed the colorful spectacle, which was followed by the pro-immigrant march featuring a gigantic puppet some 25 feet (7.5 meters) tall, wearing a suit, tie and eyeglasses, that could remind people of Sanders.

Between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015, 39,970 Central Americans ages 17 and under were detained, less than the 68,541 detentions in fiscal year 2014, according to official data.

However, in the first two months of the current fiscal year, 10,588 unaccompanied minors have been detained, an increase of 106 percent over the same period the year before, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. 

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