As soon as immigration advocates were cleared from the Broad Street ramp of the Vine Street Expressway on Tuesday morning – including four hauled off in handcuffs – other advocates assembled five blocks away at City Hall to get out the vote against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.
The political activists denounced what they called “Donald Trump’s Year of Hate” to about a dozen listeners. But both they and the street protesters also railed against last week’s Supreme Court ruling blocking two executive actions by President Obama that would have given temporary protection from deportation to more than four million of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Among the 50 people who carried signs and banners for the street protest Tuesday, four were arrested: an activist minister; an undocumented mother of American citizens; a teenager born in Philadelphia to a woman living here illegally; and a member of the immigrant support group Juntos.
The demonstrators closed down the exit ramp for more than an hour, from 11 a.m. to shortly after noon.
When asked why he risked arrest, the Rev. Adan Mairena of the West Kensington Ministry of Norris Square answered: “Because there are 4.4 million people suffering a lot more than I am.”
The protesters gathered at 10 a.m. in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office at 16th and Callowhill Streets, and marched around the building. The four who were arrested used plastic tubing to link arms across 15th Street.
The protesters are unrealistic in their demands, Temple University law professor Jan Ting said in an interview. Ting is on the board of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors restrictions on immigration.
“It comes down to the question of whether you believe in the legitimacy of restricting immigration or not,” he said. “For our first century, the U.S. did not have immigration laws and anybody in the world who wanted to come here could come here.
“The choice for Americans is: Do we want to go back to that and have unlimited immigration, or, alternatively, do we want to say, ‘No, we can’t take everyone?’ If you come here in violation, if the law means anything, we have to remove you from the U.S.”