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Old 04-27-2010, 05:13 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Default 24 protesters arrested during immigration reform rally

24 protesters arrested during immigration reform rally
Apr 27, 2010
(BROADVIEW) Twenty-four protesters were arrested peacefully during an overnight rally for immigration reform Monday in Broadview.
A large gathering of people, representing immigration rights groups and clergy gathered outside of Broadview Detention Center, 1930 Beach St., April 26 to protest the deportation of illegal immigrants. The facility is used to hold illegal immigrants prior to being deported back to their home country.

Stephen Smith, campaign manager for Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, headquartered in Chicago, and members of his organization were among the group of protesters.

The protest started at 7 p.m. and lasted throughout the night with people singing, chanting and praying in preparation for the morning when the immigrants being held there would be transported from the center to the airport.

Smith said he and others stopped a van from leaving the facility by sitting in its path Tuesday morning. Broadview Police Chief Ray Pelletier said the action resulted in the arrest of 24 people who were charged with a village ordinance violation.

“They were issued a citation and have to come into (village) court May 24,” he said.

“I understand their plight, but we have a job to do,” he said. “I had an agreement with them. If they got arrested, they would come peacefully.”

Pelletier said the incident went smoothly.

Despite being arrested Smith looks at it as a victory. “To stop an organization whose job it is to remove people from the country and separate families and get in the way of their work, it’s a just day,” he said.

Protests and vigils often take place at the detention regularly, but Smith said they gathered at the site to protest recent state immigration legislation signed into law in Arizona. He also said it’s to let politicians know that immigration reform legislation needs to be promoted.

“Today was meant to be a signal of that new face,” he said in regards to their organization pushing harder for immigration reform. “We’ve had enough with deadlines and promises. We’ll take this moral crisis into our own hands and do what we can.”

Despite the arrests his officers made Pelletier described the event as “very peaceful.”
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