Nine Philadelphia-area activists were among the 100-plus people arrested Thursday afternoon during an immigration reform rally outside the White House, according to local advocacy organization New Sanctuary Movement.
Those taken into custody included Arch Street United Methodist Church deacon Nikki Kelly Kleinberg, West Kensington Ministry pastor Adan Mairena and Marcus Pomeroy, pastor of the Central Baptist Church in Wayne.
The group was in Washington, D.C. to demand that President Barack Obama immediately end deportations and extend the deferred action program to all those in the U.S., including the growing number of unaccompanied children crossing the border from Mexico, New Sanctuary Movement organizer Nicole Kligerman said.
“In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform from Congress, those are two actions Obama can take to greatly relieve the injustices immigrants face,” Kligerman said.
As many as 112 people were reportedly arrested during the protest, which was organized by faith-based organizations and immigration advocates from around the country.
Activist Carmen Guerrero, of Norristown, said she and others were bussed to the Anacostia Detention Center after linking arms and sitting down in front of the White House gates.
“I decided to be arrested [because] I’m tired,” Guerrero said. “Nobody in Congress will move forward to do something on behalf of the immigrant community, and also for the entire nation.”
Also arrested were Philadelphia-area activists Blanca Pacheco, Caroline Cargo, Carlos Pascual and Peter Pedemonti, New Sanctuary Movement director and co-founder.
Though some of them are undocumented immigrants, all were released by 7 p.m. Thursday, according to Kligerman.
“Because none of the undocumented people who were arrested had open cases pending or a warrant or deportation order, they were released without an issue, luckily,” she said.