Immigration rights protesters turned up the heat on President Barack Obama Monday, as they sought to shut down a detention facility in Arizona in a move aimed at pressuring him to halt deportations and to get Congress moving again on immigration reform efforts.
According to the Washington Times
, many of those protesting were illegal immigrants themselves who said they were not afraid to get arrested.
"Undocumented and unafraid," they shouted as they called on Obama to end deportations and on Congress to pass a law that would allow them to remain in the country and work toward citizenship.
Monday's protest was one of several in Arizona recently aimed at stopping Operation Streamline, a program designed to arrest and convict illegal immigrants and put them in jail for a time before sending them back to their home countries. The program has been used as a deterrent for those thinking they can cross the border and live in America unlawfully with no consequences, ABC News reported
Protests have also taken place in Washington over the past few weeks, with illegal immigrants and immigration activists turning out at the Capitol, the White House, and on the National Mall. The protesters insist that most illegal immigrants are not criminals and should be allowed to remain in the U.S. under broader deportation policies put in place by the Obama administration.
Data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse seems to back up that claim. Under President Obama, about 400,000 immigrants are deported each year, The Washington Times noted, citing records from the clearinghouse.
The data shows that only 10.8 percent of detainers issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency during the first six months of 2013 were for serious public safety or national security threats. Of those held for deportation, just 38 percent had a criminal record of any kind, including traffic violations, The Washington Times reported.
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