Protest for Immigration Programme in Austin, Texas with 15 Arrests

While taking part in a protest in Austin, Texas on the 26th of July, fifteen people were arrested. The protest was against the threat of Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, of suing the federal government for an immigration program that prevents unauthorized migrants who came into the US as children from being deported.

All of them were charged with the obstruction of a highway or other passageway, which represents a Class B demeanor, and were taken to the Travis County Jail.

In a news release, a spokesman of DPS, Mr. Victor Taylor, declared that the protesters were arrested without any incident after they ignored the demands to leave the roadway they were blocking.

The group consisted of around 40 protesters and was organized by another group called Cosecha which supports national immigrant rights. The group accused the letter that Paxton sent to the US President Donald Trump in June this year, in which he asked the presidential administration to put an end to the Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals programme, also known as DACA, or face a lawsuit over its legality.

Arrested protesters recipients of the immigration programme

Out of the 15 people arrested, 4 of them were recipients of DACA. This programme gives a deportation relief for a period of two years as well as a work permit to the people who came into the United States illegally as children. Since the programme was implemented in 2012, about 800,000 people have benefited from it. Advocates of strict immigration enforcement have decried it and considered it to be a mini “amnesty” and asked Donald Trump to put an end to it as soon as possible.

The 15 people who were arrested during the protest blocked the traffic for around 15 minutes by sitting in the middle of an intersection directly to the north of the Texas Capitol. The protesters chanted and had posters with them with inscriptions like “Permanent protection. Dignity and Respect”.

On the other hand, during his election campaign, Donald Trump promised to eliminate the DACA programme, but hasn’t reached any decision regarding the issue since.

With the US presidential administration intensifying immigration law enforcement, the four arrested protesters who are recipients of the programme could have their DACA benefits revoked due to the arrests.

Protesters putting “everything at risk” to save immigration programme

One of the people who organized the protest, Reyna Montoya, declared: “We know there’s a lot of fear and anxiety in our communities. However, we know that we cannot put our faith and hopes in politicians. We have seen that victories have [only] been won when communities have put everything at risk”.

As a response to the protest, Ken Paxton prepared a statement in which he wrote: “We're fortunate to live in a great country where the First Amendment matters and people have the right to express their opinions freely and hold peaceful protests. It's my sworn duty to defend the Constitution and enforce the laws passed by the Texas Legislature”.

Cosecha is a group that supports immigrant rights and has operations in 20 states. People who protested on the 26th of July live in El Paso and Austin, while some of them actually came from Arizona, California, Florida and even New York.

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