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7/28: 15 Protesters Arrested After Demonstration Defending DACA at Texas Capitol
Released 21 August 2017  By Gus Bova – The Texas Observer

15 Protesters Arrested After Demonstration Defending DACA at Texas Capitol

A supportive crowd of dozens chanted “undocumented and unafraid” and “sí se puede” as the demonstrators were arrested by state troopers.

Gus Bova – The Texas Observer
July 26, 2017

Fifteen immigrant rights supporters were arrested Wednesday outside the
Texas Capitol after they blocked traffic in an effort to defend existing
immigrant protections and demand permanent legal status.

A supportive crowd of dozens chanted “undocumented and unafraid” and “sí
se puede” as the demonstrators were handcuffed and removed from a
downtown Austin street on the north side of the Capitol, where they had
sat for about 10 minutes. The activists were led into a nearby state
building by Department of Public Safety troopers and later transported
to the Travis County Jail.

“I’m doing this for my family and sisters who are undocumented and my 6
month-old-son so he can live in a world where human dignity is
respected,” shouted Manuel Ramirez as a trooper escorted him. Ramirez
said he’d been undocumented for 20 years but recently got permanent
legal status, which was why he said he could “put [his] life on the

The 15 activists are charged with obstructing a highway, a Class B
misdemeanor, and range in age from 20 to 42, police said.

“After repeated requests by DPS officials to leave the roadway were
ignored, the suspects were arrested without incident,” said DPS staff
sergeant Victor Taylor in a statement.

The hourlong demonstration was led by so-called dreamers — recipients of
Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — and came on the
heels of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s urging the Trump
administration to end the program. An organizer told the Observer that
four of the 15 arrested activists were DACA recipients and that their
immigration status could be jeopardized by a criminal record. Others
were permanent residents or citizens, she said.

“I benefited from DACA, but I knew that was always temporary and didn’t
benefit everyone in our community such as my parents,” said Catalina
Adorno, an activist from San Antonio, while in cuffs. “There are some
serious risks [to getting arrested] but… I know that all the small
victories the immigrant community has had were the result of people
taking risks.”

On June 29, Paxton led a 10-state coalition in sending a letter to
Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the administration
terminate DACA, which has provided work permits and relief from
deportation to more than 750,000 young immigrants since 2012. The letter
threatens that if Trump doesn’t comply by September 5, the states will
sue the federal government via an existing lawsuit. Trump has repeatedly
vacillated on the question of DACA, and the letter appears to be an
attempt to force his hand.

Behind the Wednesday protest was Movimiento Cosecha, a two-year-old
immigrant rights network that emphasizes direct action and
“noncooperation” to demonstrate the nation’s “dependence on immigrants,”
according to Vera Parra, a Cosecha organizer. The network has a presence
in more than 20 states and is run by full-time volunteers, Parra said.

A new version of the DREAM Act was introduced last week in the U.S.
Senate. The DREAM Act of 2017 would provide a path to citizenship for
many childhood arrivals. Similar versions of the proposal have failed in
the past decade, and the 2017 version is unlikely to pass a
Republican-controlled Congress and administration.

During the regular legislative session, 24 protesters were arrested
after an eight-hour sit-in at Governor Greg Abbott’s office lobby in
opposition to Senate Bill 4, the so-called sanctuary cities ban.

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