Two Dozen Arrested at Immigration Protest

Demonstrators nabbed after blocking a van carrying deportees

By Kim Vatis
|  Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010  |  Updated 5:04 PM CDT
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Protesters at an immigration rally tell their side of the story.

Protesters at an immigration rally tell their side of the story.

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Police arrested 24 immigration demonstrators and charged them with disorderly conduct Tuesday after they blocked a sheriff's van that was transporting prisoners to the Kenosha County, Wis., jail.

The protestors arrived at 5 a.m. to march and sound off about the deportation of an estimated 70 undocumented immigrants from the Broadview Immigration and Detention Center at 1930 Beach St., Broadview, Illinois.

The demonstrators chanted "Illinois is not Arizona” as they sat in the street blocking the van’s path. Arizona recently passed a controversial immigration law that allows police to stop anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

It was the second time the van attempted to leave. It turned back about 15 minutes before because of the protestors. After the second attempt, police officers stepped in to clear the demonstrators.

"I understand their position but we have a job to do," said Police Chief Ray Pelletier. "This was organized.  Police knew they would make arrests here after their sit in."

Many of the protestors are upset with President Barack Obama who they say has failed on his promise to enact reform.

They claim that deportations have actually increased under his watch and they feel betrayed after voting for him.

"Children are living in fear of having their mom or dad taken away. That isn't benefitting anyone in long run," said protestor Hugo Esparza.

Other's say they're doing no harm.

"It’s not fair they charge us as criminals when we just come here to work," Jeseneya Rodriguez.

The disorderly conduct charge comes with a $750 fine.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story reported that the protestors had blocked a van holding deportees heading to O'Hare Airport. The demonstrators did not interfere with the van headed for O'Hare, authorities confirmed. 

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