Two arrested at immigrant rights rally

March 15, 2012 at 3:17 PM

PHILADELPHIA, March 15 (UPI) -- An immigrant-rights protest in Philadelphia led to the arrest of two college students who blocked traffic with banners and refused to move, police said.

The demonstration Wednesday, in support of undocumented residents, tied up downtown traffic for more than an hour. A group of about 75 demonstrators assembled at LOVE Park and then traveled to the area outside the Philadelphia office of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where two demonstrators, declaring themselves "undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid" erected banners across the roadway, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday.

Tania Chairez, 19, a University of Pennsylvania student, and Jessica Hyejin Lee, 20, a student at Bryn Mawr College, were arrested after they sat atop the banners, shouted demands into bullhorns to end deportations, and refused to leave.

At the demonstration in the park, several speakers, including Chairez and Lee, spoke about growing up undocumented in America.

Without legal status, Chairez, originally from Mexico, could not apply for a drivers' license or obtain a part-time job, she said.

Lee, whose parents brought her from South Korea, spoke of her fear that her family's car would be pulled over and their status revealed.

The protests reflect a departure in the immigration-reform movement, now seeking visibility and high-profile arrests to publicize its cause, the newspaper said.

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