Four People Arrested During March From Capitol Building for Fifth Anniversary of SB 1070

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Four people were arrested Thursday afternoon during a protest that began at the State Capitol – the goal of which was to raise awareness of deportation laws and eliminate the strong presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona.

Those people were arrested later in the evening after sitting in the street outside the Fourth Avenue Jail and refusing to move.

The protesters chose April 23 specifically because it is the fifth anniversary of SB 1070, a legislative act in the state of Arizona that requires everyone residing in the U.S. illegally over the age of 14 who remains in the country for more than 30 days to register with the government, as well as have registration documents in their possession at all times.

Protesters of all ages wore shirts and carried signs with slogans such as “Stop the hate, Stop 1070” and “Undocumented and Unashamed” as they walked a little over 10 blocks from the Capitol building to the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Washington Street.

Protesters chose the Fourth Avenue Jail as their final destination because many of them believe loved ones are being unfairly turned over to immigration from that jail without being convicted of any other crime.

When they got to the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse, the group went into the intersection, blocking traffic for about 20 minutes. After the four arrests, the remainder of the group moved back onto the sidewalks and dispersed.

The event was organized by the Puente Human Rights Movement, a nonprofit organization based in Phoenix that works to “develop, educate, and empower migrant communities to protect and defend (their) families and (themselves),” according to the organization’s website.

As the protesters gathered before the march began, they chanted in Spanish and played music. A live band encouraged the group and began chants such as “the browning of America.”

“The struggle continues, the fight is not over,” said Natally Cruz, a Puente family assistant coordinator. “Our families are still being convicted.”

Cruz said they hope this protest will help get immigration out of the Fourth Avenue Jail.

“A lot of the damage has already been done,” Cruz said. “However, we don’t want any more kids to be separated from their parents.”

The group has been using the hashtag #Not1More on social media in an attempt to draw the attention of the Obama administration.

The Puente organization believes its struggle is a national issue but targets local Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio as the first step. Many signs depicted the sheriff with a red line drawn across his body.

Another protester, Hilda Canales, agreed that keeping families together is Puente’s main priority.

“We want ICE out of Arizona,” she said. “We believe their presence leads to children suffering as their families are torn apart.”

One woman, Sheila Ryan, said she has been protesting all of her life and believes there should be no border.

“I’m here because I can’t imagine being anywhere else,” she said. “We only have this one planet to share and we are all documented by the bones of our ancestors. My passion is equality, different and equal.”

Ryan said she believes in order to move forward with equality, we “need to get a whole lot smarter” and banish violence from our communities.

Ryan advocates for a borderless America, pointing to guns and violence as one of the nation’s most pressing issues.

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