7 protestors arrested for blocking entrance to Etowah Co. Detent - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

7 protestors arrested for blocking entrance to Etowah Co. Detention Center

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Protestors chained themselves to the front doors of the detention center. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC Protestors chained themselves to the front doors of the detention center. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
Several of the protestors who chained themselves to the doors were arrested. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC Several of the protestors who chained themselves to the doors were arrested. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
Sheriff's officials began to arrest some of the protestors who had chained themselves to the front doors around 11:30 a.m. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC Sheriff's officials began to arrest some of the protestors who had chained themselves to the front doors around 11:30 a.m. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
Protestors with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice blocked the entrance to the Etowah County Detention Center on Monday morning. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC Protestors with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice blocked the entrance to the Etowah County Detention Center on Monday morning. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
Protestors line Forrest Avenue in Gadsden in front of the Etowah County Detention Center. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC Protestors line Forrest Avenue in Gadsden in front of the Etowah County Detention Center. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Seven people were arrested for refusing to disperse from an immigration protest at the Etowah County Detention Center on Monday. Many of activitsts chained themselves together and blocked the entrance to the detention center.

In a release to FOX6 Monday, the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice said nearly two million people have been deported under the Obama administration. Those deportations were the basis of the protest.

Between 80 and 100 protestors gathered at the detention center at 10 a.m. Monday and several chained themselves to the front door. Gadsden police, the Etowah County Sheriff's Office and Etowah County special response team were on standby during the rally.

Protestors chanted "Obama, have a heart" and "When I say human, you say rights" as they marched in front of the Etowah County courthouse, judicial center and detention center.

Some activists claimed people are being deported from the U.S. for minor offenses such as running a stop sign, and they said the deportations are breaking families apart.

Sheriff's officials closed down three blocks of Forrest Avenue in front of the detention center during the rally. Around 10:40 a.m., a deputy announced over a loud speaker that if they didn't move away from the building, they would be arrested. Most of the crowd moved to the sidewalk, but a handful stayed chained to the building's front doors.

Deputies arrested the people who remained chained to the front doors. The rest of the group marched for several blocks down the street to a parking lot of an abandoned building and continued to protest there until noon. The group also collected bond money for the people who were arrested.

"While we respect the right of all citizens to peacefully protest, we cannot and will not allow individuals to disrupt the day to day operations of the Sheriffs Office nor will we allow any group to prevent other citizens from conducting business at this office," Etowah County Todd Entrekin said.

The sheriff added that the situation was resolved peacefully and without force, and commended his staff and other law enforcement agencies for their professional response.

The following people were charged with failure to disperse and resisting arrest:

-Gabriel Eric Machabanski, 31, of Birmingham
-David Alejandro Comparan-Rojas, 22, of Dothan
-Carlos Humberto Ramos-Colorado, 41, of Alexander City
-Terestia Flores, 33, of Alexander City
-Evelyn Servin, 31, of Russellville
-Monica Hernandez, 50, of College Park, Ga.
-Gwendolyn Ferreti, 30, of Tuscaloosa

Each of the seven protestors were booked into the Etowah County Detention Center on a $1,500 bond.

In a statement, the ACIJ said seven undocumented Alabama residents and their supporters locked themselves together "as part of the national campaign demanding that President Obama use his executive authority to stop deportations and the separation of families."

The group says 1,100 people are deported from the country each day and calls the Etowah County Detention Center "part of the largest immigrant detention infrastructure in the world."

The release includes statements from people who say they've been personally impacted by deportation.

"I decided to take action today because I am no longer afraid to speak up," Evelyn Servin of Russellville, Ala. said.

"My family and I have endured the pain and emotional trauma family separation brings, and I am here to tell President Obama to stop the deportations. I will continue to work tirelessly until no child is torn from his father and no husband is taken away from his wife like my husband was taken away from us. Alabama is no longer afraid and will not continue to live in the shadows anymore," Servin added.

"I personally know the feeling of being separated from my family by deportation because my father was deported. I'm here to say that the President can and needs to stop deportations today," David Comparan of Dothan, Ala. said.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued the following statement in response to Monday's protest:

"ICE fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. While we continue to work with Congress to enact commonsense immigration reform, ICE remains committed to sensible, effective immigration enforcement that focuses on its priorities, including convicted criminals and other public safety threats.

ICE's FY2013 removal numbers make clear the agency's enforcement prioritization efforts are paying dividends. Nearly 60 percent of individuals removed by ICE in FY2013 had previously been convicted of a criminal offense; 82 percent of individuals removed from the interior of the country had previously been convicted of a criminal offense," ICE spokesman Bryan D. Cox said.

ICE also offered the following information on deportations from fiscal year 2013:

"In FY2013, ICE conducted a total of 368,644 removals, 235,093 of whom were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States, and 133,551 of whom were apprehended in the interior of the United States. Other than convicted criminals, the agency's enforcement priorities include: those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants – individuals who returned to the U.S. after being previously removed by ICE – and immigration fugitives. Ninety eight percent of those removed in the last year met one of these priorities – a record high and a testament to the men and women of ICE who are helping to implement a strong and focused immigration enforcement strategy."

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