PHOENIX - DREAMers were back in front of the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in downtown Phoenix Thursday protesting the separation of families when illegal immigrants are deported.
Unlike the drama from Wednesday night, Thursday’s protest was peaceful as the group continues to try and send a message to Congress.
They want immigration reform and they want it now.
“They need to act now, the time is now. We don't have time to keep putting these families on the line and to keep on separating them,” said Yadira Garcia, a protester.
“It's not fair for families to be separated. It happens too much too often in the middle of the night,” said protester Jose Patino. Nobody hears about it, nobody sees it.”
Patino was one of six arrested Wednesday night when he and others sat in front of an ICE bus filled with illegal immigrants.
“When we saw the bus, we're like, 'We're not going to move.'” “I knew they weren't going to run us over,” Patino added.
DREAMers say they will continue to protest outside of ICE offices throughout the week sending a strong message to Congress - it's time to get the immigration issue solved.
DREAMers believe Arizona is ground zero for immigration reform and believe what happens here sets the tone for the rest of the nation.
They're most concerned over the number of families that are being separated when a parent or both parents find themselves deported.
It happened to Maria Castro when she was 12. Her mother was deported leaving her and her siblings behind.
“I knew my family situation was different. I just didn't understand why or how, because we are like any other American family,” Castro said. “When my mother was deported, I felt betrayed by my country. I felt alone.”
We called Homeland Security for comment on the now two-day protest. Jacqueline Yost, with Federal Protection Service responded with this statement:
“The Federal Protective Service (FPS) protects more than 9,000 federal buildings and 1.4 million federal employees and visitors who occupy them throughout the country every day. FPS is committed to carrying out this mission in a manner that protects the public’s civil rights and civil liberties including freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest.”
Protesters say they plan to protest once again outside of Phoenix’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Friday.
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