Ally Ruiz, Daniel Alvardo, Marco Saavedra, and Diri Diana Martinez were arrested on Sunday during protests at the Broward Transitional Center, sources indicate. According to reports, the four protestors refused to move from the large canvas banners they were sitting on when ordered to by police. It is unclear what jail they were booked into or what bail bond amount was set for each party. It is also unknown whether any of the defendants has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
The arrests occurred on Powerline Road in Pompano Beach, where a group of 50 demonstrators were calling for the release of family members and loved ones from the Broward Transition Center. The Transition Center is reported to hold dozens of immigrants that, protestors claim, are kept in terrible conditions. News sources indicate that one female protester was looking to have her husband, a Honduran immigrant, released. She told reporters that he has been in the detention center since May 15 and may be deported.
The protests resulted in the closure of Powerline Road – north of Sample Road – in both directions for several hours on Sunday. “We’ve been protesting for years and years, but nothing changes,” a spokesperson for DREAMactivist.org told news reporters. “Deportation’s convenient. The families have been mostly afraid to come to this building, let alone block the street.” Protestors reportedly marched into the entrance of the detention center with homemade signs that read “Stop Breaking Up Families.” Reports indicate that at least one person was unable to visit his family in the center as a result of all the protesting. The road reopened around 2:30 P.M.
The four arrested came from various parts of the country: Ruiz from Portland, Oregon; Alvardo from Chalotte, North Carolina; Saavedra from New York; and Martinez from Sanford, North Carolina. Martinez and Saavedra were released from jail on Friday. It is not yet known whether ICE will hold any of the activists at the Broward Detention Center. Reports indicate that those arrested may sue or possibly take other legal actions to get their loved ones out of jail.
According to a National Immigrant Youth Alliance spokesman, Martinez and Saaverdra refused to leave jail when they were released. “They were sent back to their cells. Then a half hour later, we think they were kicked out,” the spokesperson speculated. The detention center has been placed on full lockdown following the protest, according to the NIYA group. “ICE wasn’t taking us seriously, so we needed to show them that this community is no longer going to live in fear,” read one statement from the group NIYA, which is now accepting donations to pay the bail for the arrested parties.
A NIYA spokesperson told news reporters that more than 8,000 people have signed a petition that calls for the “full and immediate review of all detainees at the Broward Transitional Center and the release of anyone who meets the criteria of the June 17, 2011, low-priority discretion memo as laid out by John Morton, director of ICE.” The group told news sources that there are over 100 inmates in the Broward Detention facility “who, according to the Obama policies of the past year, should be released back to their families.” Though it is uncertain so far, the possibility that legal actions may be taken to secure the release of some of the inmates who protestors claim are being held wrongfully.