The action, beginning at 10am, was a spirited response to Arizona’s recently enacted SB1070, which encourages law enforcement to verify a person’s immigration status based on “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an “alien.” The action also protested other federal, state, and local immigration enforcement laws.
The immigrant rights activists – a multiethnic group of community members, including two South Asians – blocked the entrance to the Federal Detention Center and blocked traffic on Alameda Street with their bodies in joyful celebration of the humanity of all people.
They were joined by hundreds of activists including South Asian Network community members who marched and chanted in support for over five hours on Alameda Street. Everyone was able to shut down the Federal Detention Center, which included blocking incoming Department of Homeland Security detention buses from entering the building.
“This detention center symbolizes the incarceration and internment of so many immigrants and the separation of families,” said “Arizona” one of the activists arrested during the action. “We are here to say that there will be no more business as usual at this detention center and that we need to end SB1070, all detentions and deportations and the criminalization of our communities.”
The action was just one in a series of escalating local and national protests that took place in recent weeks. Those participating have pledged to resist the criminalization of immigrant communities by engaging in acts of non-cooperation and civil disobedience.
The activists refused to provide identification documents or give their names in protest of SB 1070’s requirement that the police demand documents from anyone they “reasonably suspect” to be undocumented. The activists were exercising their rights to remain silent.
“We are here in solidarity with the millions of undocumented immigrants and Latinos and other people of color labeled as ‘illegal’ because of how they look and whose humanity is being denied by their inability to provide documentation proving their status,” said another of the participants in the action.
Protestors were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest and were released by Friday evening on their own recognizance. They are scheduled to appear in court on June 4th, 2010.