Arrests made at immigration protest

April 28, 2010 8:38:58 AM PDT
Dozens of protesters were arrested Tuesday when they blocked a federal detention center in the west suburbs. They were protesting the new Arizona immigration law that allows police to demand proof of citizenship.

Calling attention to the recent measure, activists sat in the street, arm in arm, outside of an immigration facility in Broadview hoping to stop deportations.

The protesters thought they were blocking a van from carrying illegal immigrants to O'Hare Airport to be deported out of the country. Instead, the van was heading to a jail in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

Still, it's an indication that patience is wearing out for people who want President Obama and lawmakers to take action on immigration reform.

"Obviously the work is here. People are fleeing the poverty in their countries. They can't raise their families. They don't want to leave their countries, but I think any parent would do what they could to support their families," said Fr. Larry Dowling, Priests for Justice for Immigrants.

Fr. Larry Dowling is one of two-dozen people who were taken into custody one by one by Broadview Police and released shortly after their arrests for disorderly conduct or blocking traffic. Police say they want to make the charges as lenient as possible.

"I know they're good people. I never wanted to arrest a priest," said Chief Ray Pelletier, Broadview Police.

The protestors are stepping up the pressure on President Barack Obama to work with lawmakers to create a federal immigration reform bill. They want what they call unfair deportations to end for people who they say were never given a chance to gain citizenship.

"I could go to Arizona, being a citizen of the United States born here, and I could get stopped and possibly arrested," said Jeanette Galicia, protester.

Arizona's immigration law has captured the attention of people in and outside of the U.S.

Marcelo Ebrard is the mayor of Mexico City. He and other mayors from around the world were in Chicago for a series of panel discussions Tuesday. Ebrard said there is negative reaction toward Arizona in his country.

"I think the best way to solve this is to respect the right of the people, to return to the American constitution," said Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico City.

Tuesday afternoon, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security were in the midst of reviewing Arizona's law and that it may be challenged by the federal government. Holder said that he fears the new law is subject to abuse.


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