4/12 – ajc.com – Illegal immigrant protesters won’t face deportation | ajc.com

Illegal immigrant protesters won’t face deportation  | ajc.com.

 

Georgia Politics 6:14 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Federal immigration authorities have decided not to take action against seven demonstrators who disclosed they were in the country illegally before they were arrested on charges of blocking downtown Atlanta traffic during a protest last week.

Paulina Bravo, 16, joins in one of several recent protests at the state Capitol against immigration reform measures presented in the Georgia House and Senate.

Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com Paulina Bravo, 16, joins in one of several recent protests at the state Capitol against immigration reform measures presented in the Georgia House and Senate.

Asked whether her agency planned to deport the protesters, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement saying ICE was not taking any “enforcement actions against the student demonstrators.”

The activists blocked traffic on downtown Atlanta’s Courtland Street for about an hour last week as they demonstrated against a ban on illegal immigrants attending some Georgia colleges.

Earlier that day, the protesters had declared they were illegally in the country and decried restrictions illegal immigrant students face in the United States. Some spoke in favor of the DREAM Act, a congressional measure that would have given young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military. That measure failed in Congress last year.

The Associated Press reported the seven activists were instructed to perform community service after police charged them with obstructing traffic and prohibited conduct during assembly.

Another ICE official referred The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to a speech Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made this month in Washington. In response to a question from someone in the audience, Napolitano indicated people who would qualify for the DREAM Act are not an enforcement priority for ICE. ICE officials have repeatedly said they are focusing first on deporting violent illegal immigrants.

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