7 immigration reform activists arrested for blocking street outside U.S. Immigration Court in Denver

Group protests congressional delay on reform

DENVER - Seven immigration reform activists were arrested outside the U.S. Immigration Court in Denver on Wednesday evening when they blocked a street during a protest.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said the seven protestors were arrested for disobeying a lawful order and obstructing the roadway at Stout and 19th streets at about 6:30 p.m.

A photo by 7NEWS photojournalist Justin Beach showed the activists holding hands as they stretched across the street. A banner on the roadway read: "United 4 Our Community -- Immigration Reform Now."

The group Rights for All People said they were protesting a lack of congressional action on immigration reform. Some protesters marched on the sidewalk, waving signs, reading "Gives Us A Vote" and "Unification -- Not Deportation."

The group said, "The act of civil disobedience called attention to the 1,000 families who are torn apart every day while Congress stalls on passing immigration reform with a path to citizenship."

Lizeth Chacón, a group organizer, said she chose to be arrested "because I cannot stand to watch our community be torn apart. I'm doing this in solidarity with my courageous community members and parents who are risking their lives by coming out as being undocumented."

She was referring to three immigrant leaders who publicly announced at the protest that they are undocumented and spoke about why they demand that Congress pass immigration reform.

At the demonstration, Guillermina, a mother of four, said, "It is not fair that because of the inaction of Congress our community is being destroyed and I cannot assure my children that I will return home at night."

Jorge, another immigrant leader and father of four, told of his oldest son, a U.S. Army corporal who recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. Jorge told how he was unable to attend his son’s graduation from basic training because he didn’t have the proper identification to enter a military base.

"I am a father who loves his children and this country, but I couldn't be present to support and celebrate my son's dedication to this country simply because of our current broken immigration system," Jorge said. "This system needs to change -- we need to pass immigration reform now!"

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