Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Phoenix to voice their dismay at a Supreme Court decision blocking President Barack Obama's plan to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.
Immigration rally now blocking streets #abc15 pic.twitter.com/Lmbv8qydxT
— Sonu Wasu ABC15 (@SonuWasu) June 23, 2016
More than 60 activists blocked parts of Central Avenue, a major thoroughfare, just north of downtown just before noon. They were carrying signs in sweltering heat and chanting in Spanish and English. About two dozen more stood on the sidewalk in the shade.
Phoenix police officers were monitoring the scene. Air15 video showed two women and two men apparently being arrested after refusing to leave the street.
So far, peaceable protest downtown by dreamers. Our mission keep everyone safe! pic.twitter.com/3BjuA8MLI8
— James Holmes (@PPDPIOJames) June 23, 2016
Police said four people were arrested as a result of the demonstration. Thursday night, they were identified as 23-year-old Gilbert Romero, 35-year-old Ian Danley, 44-year-old Gilberta Najera and 25-year-old Virdiana Hernandez. All were booked on a charge of obstructing a thoroughfare.
The action came hours after the nation's high court deadlocked on an Obama administration appeal of a lower court decision that blocks his 2014 plan. Texas led Arizona and other Republican-dominated states in challenging the Obama program.
In response, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued this statement:
"Like the President, I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s 4-4 vote today in United States v. Texas. The case concerns Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The 4-4 impasse leaves the court of appeals ruling in place and effectively prohibits us from implementing these important initiatives.
It is important to emphasize that this ruling does not affect the existing DACA policy, which was not challenged. Eligible individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grants or renewals of DACA, pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012.
We are also moving forward on the other executive actions the President and I announced in November 2014 to reform our immigration system. This includes our changes to the Department’s immigration enforcement priorities. Through these priorities, we are more sharply focused on the removal of convicted criminals, threats to public safety and national security, and border security. We have ended the controversial Secure Communities program. We are expanding policies designed to help family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents stay together when removal would result in extreme hardship. And we have taken several actions to make it easier for international students, entrepreneurs, and high-skilled immigrants to contribute to the U.S. economy.
The President and I remain committed to fixing our broken immigration system. We are disappointed by the 4-4 vote in the Supreme Court today, and the gridlock in Congress that has stood in the way of more lasting, comprehensive immigration reform."