The “United 4” protesters were arrested for chaining themselves to a fence outside of the facility then later released. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition Facebook page.

Immigration activists shut down ICE detention center, four arrested

Four immigration reform activists, including two leaders, were arrested as hundreds of occupiers shut down the Phoenix Removal and Detention Facility, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in downtown Phoenix.

In events spurred by the Arizona Dream Action Coalition [ADAC], protesters chained themselves to a fence outside the facility to urge Congress “to help deliver immigration reform that halts aggressive, senseless enforcement practices, unites families, and creates a clear path to citizenship for Americans without papers.”

Two undocumented youth activists, Yadira Garcia and Francisco Luna, leaders with the ADAC and United We Dream [UWD], were arrested. Along with the two DREAMers, police took UWD National Coordinating Committee member, Maria Castro and Alejandra Sanchez, a mother of both a U.S. citizen and four DREAMers, according to UWD. Just hours later, the “United 4” were released, according to the ADAC Facebook page.

“As the police handcuffed us, we felt proud and unafraid,” Castro said. “We were willing to risk arrest because we can no longer sit and watch families be ripped apart by one more senseless deportation.”

After months of phone calls to the facility and a week of sustained presence outside, protesters shut down operations at the ICE detention center. Activists are still calling Majority House Leader John Boehner and other Republican leaders  pass comprehensive immigration reform to end deportations and keep families together.

“We cannot accept any legislative proposal that would amplify the pain our communities have been subjected to for decades while blocking our families from a path to citizenship,” said Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of UWD.  “Terrorizing our communities or creating a permanent underclass is un-American and unacceptable.”

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