RALEIGH—Dozens of community activists held a vigil outside the Wake Co. Detention Center Wednesday night to protest deportation raids around the country.

The Southeast Immigrant Rights Network delivered more than 70,000 signatures to DC Wednesday, calling on President Obama to stop the raids.

“Imagine not being able to see you know your family for either the rest of your life or for decades,” said activist Jorge Ramos.

During the vigil, activists released balloons and held teddy bears, symbolizing the children impacted by deportation raids. 

“These children are being forced out of their homes, away from their families and back to these Central American countries where they do face the risk of physical violence,” said William Saenz with El Pueblo, Inc.

The gathering was organized as El Pueblo Inc. says the Dept. of Homeland Security began increasing raids against Central American families around the country.

“We do know that there have been some targeted raids in North Carolina,” said Saenz.

Wake Co. Sheriff Donnie Harrison says in 2015, deportation procedures were executed against 200-300 undocumented immigrants in the county, who were arrested for aggravated crimes.

“From our view, this act of kind of criminalizing families who have come here just in search of a better life. They are just here, looking for the same dream, the same aspirations as we do,” said Saenz. “The fact they are being thrown in jail and sending them back into these terrible conditions just goes against everything we should be representing here.”

Activists say they will continue to fight for the rights of others.

“We don’t want any more families separated,” said Ramos.

The group says it plans to participate in the 10th annual Moral March in Raleigh on Saturday, February 13.