A group of protesters in Pompano Beach said they were ready to go to jail Wednesday to speed the release of undocumented immigrants facing deportation – and that’s exactly what happened.
The seven protesters chained themselves to each other outside the Broward Transitional Center. Rally organizers say the detention facility is holding between 500 and 700 undocumented immigrants awaiting decisions on their deportation cases.
Many of them are what immigration officials call “low-priority” – meaning they’re guilty of minor violations like traffic citations and don’t pose a threat to society.
Among the five men and two women arrested by Broward Sheriff’s deputies was 21-year-old Nestor Ruiz. He says his undocumented father was pulled over for driving without a license eight years ago and spent four months in the detention center before being deported to Mexico.
Ruiz and the other protesters are calling on President Barack Obama to use his executive powers for immigration reforms Congress failed to pass this year.
“President Obama said that he was going to use his executive authority to do something by the end of the summer, which is Sept. 22, " says Ruiz. "So we’re here urging him, with the community, that we need relief and we need it now."
Ruiz was part of a group of about 70 protesters who gathered outside the detention center for the rally. Many of the protesters are self-proclaimed Dreamers, the children of undocumented immigrants.
Broward Sheriff’s deputies say the seven will probably be charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor.