About 200 hundred people peacefully protested Saturday morning against the immigration policies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the federal government in a march starting at a Central Phoenix park and ending at a local immigration office.
, the Phoenix-based human-rights group, organized the one-mile walk from Steele Indian School Park to the local offices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Demonstrators carried signs reading, "We will not comply" and "Migration is a human right" while chanting slogans such as "No papers, no fear!"
As the protesters arrived at ICE's office, a mobile stage truck blasting Spanish-language music set up shop in the agency's parking lot, which is usually closed off except for those who have an appointment. The demonstrators voiced their opposition against Arpaio and immigration officials on their own turf.
The demonstration was a kick-off event to a national bus tour that Puente has planned. Dubbed the "Undocubus,
" its 30 undocumented passengers plan to be at the Democratic National Convention
in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4.
Along the way, the group plans to stop in Alabama, Georgia, and other states that have similar anti-immigrant laws such as Arizona's Senate Bill 1070.
Even people not from Arizona flew into the state to hop on the bus, which took off on Sunday evening.
"We're leaving with the energy that we have found here in Phoenix and the resistance of the people," said Ireri Unzueta, a Chicago resident, during the demonstration outside of ICE's offices. "We're going to North Carolina to [ask] President Obama if he supports us or does...not support us."
For a lot the riders who are undocumented, it will be the first time publicly announcing their legal status, but it is also worth the risk, the protesters say.
"I'm doing it for my mom and my dad . . . because they have contributed so much for this country yet they are still seen as criminals," said California resident Julio Salgado, explaining why he will go on the bus.