Chicago – Four people were arrested Tuesday for blocking the entrance to Chicago's federal immigration court during a protest against deportations of undocumented immigrants.
One of those arrested was the Rev. Jose Landaverde, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission, who earlier led protesters in a march from the city's mainly Mexican La Villita/Little Village neighborhood.
The organizers had announced plans for an act of civil disobedience, suggesting they would try to force their way into the downtown building that houses the immigration court and other federal offices.
In the end, however, Landaverde and Emma Lozano, head of the Familia Latina Unida/Centro Sin Fronteras organization, decided on a sit-in at the building entrance.
Arrested along with the veteran immigration activists were two members of Occupy Chicago.
The aim of Tuesday's event was to denounce the "unjust and inhumane decisions" of immigration judges who "deport workers and separate families" despite a new federal policy giving priority to the deportation of people with criminal records and allowing for discretion in other cases, Landaverde said.
While activist Jorge Mujica called the march the start of a campaign "against the judges, who think they're untouchable, not just against immigration officials."
It is vital, he said, to criticize injustice at all levels, from the courts to the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the immigrant detention centers.
"No one can escape, not even President Obama," Mujica said.
Deportations have soared to record levels since Barack Obama took office in January 2009.
The anti-deportation marchers were joined outside the federal building by a contingent from Occupy Chicago, which is preparing for a major protest on Sunday against the upcoming NATO summit in the Windy City.
Though Occupy is mainly concerned with issues of economic justice, a spokesperson said the movement "supports all struggles for human rights."
A man identifying himself only as Brian, who said he came from Wisconsin to join the anti-NATO protest, echoed that sentiment.
"All the causes are connected," he said.