Two undocumented immigrants arrested in protest

Declaring themselves undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid, members of DreamActivist PA Jessica Hyejin Lee, 20 and Tania Chairez, 19, ( left ) rallied at Philadelphias Love Park and were arrested for blocking traffic in front of the INS building on 16th Street Mar. 14, 2012. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )
Declaring themselves undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid, members of DreamActivist PA Jessica Hyejin Lee, 20 and Tania Chairez, 19, ( left ) rallied at Philadelphias Love Park and were arrested for blocking traffic in front of the INS building on 16th Street Mar. 14, 2012. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )
Posted: March 14, 2012

Declaring themselves "undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid," two college students were arrested by Philadelphia police Wednesday after a boisterous street protest that snarled traffic for more than an hour.

Tania Chairez, 19, a University of Pennsylvania sophomore, and Jessica Hyejin Lee, 20, a junior at Bryn Mawr College, planted themselves atop two banners they put in the roadway at 16th and Callowhill Streets at 3:15 p.m. and refused to move. The spot is directly in front of the Philadelphia offices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the deportation police known as ICE.

Chairez, whose parents brought her here as a young child from Mexico, and Lee, whose parents brought her here from South Korea, are illegal immigrants. Speaking through bullhorns, they said their act of civil disobedience was designed to encourage undocumented people "to come out of the shadows" and demand universal human rights.

About 75 demonstrators, mostly from the city's Latino and Asian youth movements, assembled at Love Park, then marched to spot where the women sat in. Spilling off the sidewalks, the demonstrators chanted support for immigration reforms that would grant students like Chairez and Lee legal status.

"Out of the shadows, into the street," the demonstrators chanted. "No courage, no change."

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