Protesters Arrested and Released, Will Not be Deported

After a recent immigration rally, four protesters were released from jail and authorities have reported that the adults will not be deported, even though all four have admitted to being in the country illegally. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the protestors will not be deported because they are focused on deporting criminal undocumented immigrants and recent border crossers.

The protestors were released from a downtown Phoenix jail and spoke to the media shortly after their release. They told reporters that they have believed that the chances of deportation were not high, but were still concerned about the issue because of the public nature of the protests. Daniela Cruz, one of protestors, told reporters that she has no regrets about her participation in the immigration rally and her arrest, saying that her actions sent a message to the community about what could be accomplished.

Two other protestors, Rocio and Jackie Sanchez, expressed similar sentiments. Both teens were in juvenile detention and will still need to go through the juvenile justice system. Jackie is a student at Carl Hayden High School and met the president back in January. Other immigrants have approached the teen to say thank you for taking a stand. Rocio attends Metro Tech High School. Both teens may still face charges for their participation in the immigration protest. They may face charges of obstructing a public thoroughfare and charges of disorderly conduct, both of which are misdemeanors.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio was asked about his opinion about the immigration rally and subsequent events. Arpaio said he was not surprised, and also told reporters that he felt that the event was “staged” and political. Arpaio believes that the protestors knew that they would be released. The Sheriff also told reporters that he is keeping careful records of everyone who is released. Further, Arpaio expressed concerns that other immigrants would be released because they do not fit the profile of a criminal. He is concerned that the release of the protestors will set a precedent for not deporting other undocumented immigrants.

Arpaio expressed his belief that everyone who crosses the border has broken the law already. While he expressed compassion for those like the Sanchez siblings, who were brought into the country as infants, Arpaio noted that he is a public official and it is his role to uphold the law. He believes that if someone believes the law is wrong, they need to change the law rather than flout it.