Dozens of undocumented immigrants gathered outside of the Mens’ Jail in downtown Los Angeles to rally for a state bill that would curb police enforcement of immigration law.
Many of the young people looked straight out of high school or college, clad in tight jeans and T-shirts, and spiked hair. Over the last couple of years, this core group of unlawful young immigrants has become more radicalized and outspoken about immigration enforcement.
The group took over an intersection and blocked traffic. More than 30 minutes passed before police and firemen came to the scene and gave ample warning before making arrests.
First, they rallied for the DREAM Act; now, they’re rallying for the TRUST Act. If signed into law by Governor Brown by the end of the month, the TRUST Act will require local police to release immigrants who have been arrested once their bond is posted, as long as they have no serious convictions.
“You know, I’m American in every way but on paper," said Nicolas Lotorto, a 32-year old undocumented immigrant from Argentina. "I’ve been here my entire life, and I’m not going to be walking through the streets so that a police officer can tell me ‘let me see your papers’. I don’t have to, this is America.”
Under California law, police do not ask people on the street for papers; among many DREAMers, there’s still confusion about what the TRUST Act is and how it would affect immigration enforcement.
Lotorto was among four people who wouldn’t budge, sitting in the middle of the street.
“I’m not really worried too much about the implications," he said. "I’m just more worried about the message getting out there to Sheriff Baca that no human is illegal, so please understand that…”
Lotorto was detained alongside four others for unlawful assembly. A Sheriff’s spokesman wouldn’t answer questions about the protest nor the department’s stance on the TRUST Act.