Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Three undocumented KC students arrested in D.C. immigration protest

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Myrna Orozco remains in a Washington, D.C., jail.
  • Myrna Orozco remains in a Washington, D.C., jail.

Risking deportation and criminal charges, three undocumented Kansas City-area students were arrested yesterday in a Washington, D.C., immigration protest. Two have been released, and one remains behind bars.



Capitol Police arrested Diana Martinez, 18, a recent graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School, and Ricardo Quinones, 20, a University of Kansas psychology student, while engaging in a sit-in in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. They were booked on disorderly conduct charges and released.

The two were among a larger group demanding that senators pass the DREAM Act, which promises the children of illegal immigrants a process to become permanent citizens. The bill has languished in the Senate for a decade, and the Kansas/Missouri DREAM Alliance says there is finally support to pass it. But Nevada Sen. Harry Reid won't bring the bill to the floor.

A third Kansas City resident, Myrna Orozco, was arrested for unlawful entry and trespassing at Arizona Sen. John McCain's office.

Erin Fleming
, the KS/MO DREAM Alliance's policy and media coordinator, said Orozco showed her Mexican passport to the police as identification, which got ICE involved in the Rockhurst

University student's case and raised the possibility of deportation.

"They're not legally bound to begin the deportation process, but they could," Fleming said.

click to enlarge Diana Martinez isn't hiding her undocumented status anymore.
  • Diana Martinez isn't hiding her undocumented status anymore.
Martinez, who was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. when she was six, had her face splashed across the nation today in this Washington Post slideshow. She and other protesters wore graduation regalia to the sit-in to highlight their identity as nearly lifelong residents of the U.S., and not illegal immigrants dashing across the border, she said.

"We are trying to say that they were arresting students that just want a chance," she said. "They're treating us like criminals, and we're not."

Orozco has a court appearance later today, and the members of KS/MO DREAM Alliance are hopeful she will be released so they can make the 17-hour drive home from D.C. tonight.

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