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8 undocumented youth arrested in Georgia as hundreds march to protest education ban

By Kosta Harlan |
April 7, 2011
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Undocumented youth protest in Atlanta, Georgia on April 5
Undocumented youth protest in Atlanta, Georgia on April 5. (Immigrant Youth Justice League: http://www.iyjl.org)

(April 7 update: The detained youth have been released)

Durham, NC - Two North Carolina youth are among the eight students who blocked traffic in an act of civil disobedience in Atlanta, Georgia on April 5. Earlier in the day, hundreds of youth marched through Atlanta chanting “Undocumented and unafraid!” and “Education not deportation!” After presenting a petition to Georgia State University’s president, eight undocumented youth occupied a street until their arrest.

Georgina Perez, Viridiana Martinez, Jose Rico, Dayanna Rebolledo, Andrea Rosales, David Ramirez, Maria Marroquin and Dulce Guerrero are being held in a detention center in Atlanta.

A newly passed law in Georgia bans undocumented students from enrolling in Georgia’s five most selective public universities. The ban also requires colleges to check the residency status of all applicants.

Jose Rico, one of the young people arrested and a member of the North Carolina DREAM Team, said, “I’m doing this because our communities are living in fear. 51,000 undocumented youth had their dreams torn apart when our senators voted against the DREAM Act. They are trying to criminalize our existence.”

Viridiana Martinez, another member of the NC DREAM Team who was arrested at the protest, said, “Rallying and protesting are no longer enough. Remaining in the shadows is no longer acceptable.”

Organizers with the NC DREAM Team note that two bills in North Carolina’s General Assembly, HB 11 and HB 343, would block undocumented students from accessing higher education in the state.

A vigil and protest is planned in Raleigh, NC at 6:30pm on Thursday April 7 to demand freedom for Viridiana and Jose Rico, as well as the other detained youth. Supporters are also encouraged to donate to the bail fund.

(Video Credit: MundoHispanico)

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