Police Arrest 13 For Protesting Alabama’s Harmful Immigration Law At State Capitol


Protestors march outside the Alabama Capitol on Tuesday. (AP)

Yesterday about 100 protesters, mostly college-age and Hispanic, demonstrated in Montgomery against HB 56, Alabama’s extreme anti-immigrant law. Chanting “Undocumented, unafraid,” and ”No papers, no fear, immigrants are marching here,” they marched around the state Capitol and adjacent Statehouse.

Police arrested eleven protesters who sat down on Union Street between the two buildings and refused to move. Some of those arrested are undocumented immigrants:

One of those arrested was 19-year-old Catalina Rios, a student at Henry Ford Community College in Detroit. She identified herself an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

Looking like a typical American teenager with her long dark hair in a ponytail, Rios said she knew there was a possibility she might be deported as she sat in the street waiting to be arrested.

I know that I live in fear every single day of that, so this is no different,” Rios said. “I’m doing this for all the immigrant students who struggle every day.”

A Montgomery attorney who volunteered to represent those arrested, Mike Winter, said he understood they were mostly being charged with disturbing the peace, but also could be held for immigration officials.

Additionally, Ernesto Zumaya, 24, and Caesar Marroquin, 21, were arrested when they sat down in the Statehouse lobby and vowed not to leave until state Sen. Scott Beason (R), the sponsor of HB 56, responded to their concerns. Beason, who lost his leadership position in the legislature because of racist comments he made, never arrived, and police arrested both men when the building closed for the day.

Zumaya and Marroquin both told the AP that they are undocumented immigrants and have spent most of their lives in the U.S. Marroquin said he wants to be a U.S. Marine.

Alabama’s harshest-in-the-nation immigration law has terrorized immigrant families and provoked them to flee the state in droves. Thousands of Hispanic students have been too scared to go to school, and some have been bullied and racially profiled simply because of their skin color. Because of all the ways HB 56 silences and victimizes immigrants, Mohammad Abdollahi, a leader of the protest who said he is an undocumented immigrant from Iran, said they were demonstrating for their voices “to be heard.”