Arizona Immigration Protesters Block Court Proceedings

Immigration proceedings were temporarily stopped as Immigration activists chained themselves to buses in order to block the entrance to the federal courthouse in Arizona. The proceedings that were scheduled to take place involved deportations of undocumented immigrants.

Protestors taking matters into own hands

Two buses carrying about 70 detainees about to be deported were stopped for over four hours throughout the demonstration before police were able to remove the protesters. Officials say they had law enforcement authorities negotiating with protest leaders to give them a chance to voice their message, but in the end had to remove them forcibly. Police cut the protestors who were chained to the buses and a few others removed themselves when they heard the protest was over. Other demonstrators turned out and stood by cheering on the chained protestors to show their support.

Controversial program exposed

Immigration rights activist groups called on other activists to engage in the protests and draw attention to Operation Streamlines, “a controversial program that requires federal prosecution and deportation of people who entered the United States illegally.” Usually, immigrants who are detained meet with a lawyer in the morning before they are set to have a hearing in the courtroom, but that was not possible that afternoon.

Activists decided to take matters into their own hands since the Obama administration was unable to solve the immigration issue. “The fight over immigration reform is a flashpoint in Arizona and Tucson in particular; the city sits about 60 miles from the Mexican border.” Protestors called the event an “out-of-control enforcement and deportation regime.” Detainees are brought to the courts in masses and most likely not given fair hearings. The same group that led this protest plans to engage in civil obedience in the upcoming week and shut down U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s office.

Even though the federal government was experiencing a shutdown, all court functions were operating even though some were reduced. The shutdown did not impact the decision to cancel following proceedings.

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