Nationally known DREAMer, 2 others arrested at hunger strike outside ICE headquarters

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 7:08 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 28 at 5:07 AM

PHOENIX -- An outspoken DREAMer who has been taking part in a hunger strike outside ICE headquarters in downtown Phoenix woke up behind bars Wednesday morning.

Erika Andiola and two others were arrested late Tuesday night for breaking the city's urban camping law.

The trio was part of a group of six people who have been fasting since Presidents Day, which was last Monday. They want immigration officials to release family members who are being held at the ICE detention center in Eloy.

Marked by a circle on the sidewalk, there is a fine line behind private and public property and according to police, Andiola and the two others they arrested were on the wrong side of it and refused to move.

"We just went to the restroom and then as soon as we came back, the police had like tape all over. They blocked Central completely," Reyna Montoya said. "They had over like 35 cops. It was completely unnecessary. They were about only five people here.

"We've been in complete peace, you know?" Montoya continued. "The people are fasting. What harm can she do? ... We haven't been doing any harm to anyone."

Andiola, who was featured in a 2012 Time Magazine story about DREAMers, has appeared on national television with her mom and is well-known nationwide.

A graduate of Arizona State University, Andiola was brought to the U.S. illegally when she was 11 years old. In recent years she has become a national face of immigration reform, having worked with some of Obama's senior officials and members of Congress.

Andiola is former board member of the United We Dream Network of immigrant youth and leader of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition.

The DREAM Action Coalition said it expected Andiola and the others to be released some time Wednesday morning.

The tents that had been pitched outside the ICE office are gone, but despite the arrests there are still protesters there.

One of them says her son has been at the Eloy facility for three years. She says he has medical issues and should be released and allowed to return to his family.

The hunger strikers who are part of Fast For Dignity want deportations to end and will keep their protest going until their message --  #not1more deportation -- is heard.

Police said they were merely doing their job and enforcing the law.

"It shall be unlawful for any person to camp in any park or preserve, or in any building, facility, or parking lot or structure, or on any property adjacent thereto, that is owned, possessed and controlled by the City ...," reads the Phoenix ordinance regarding camping.

The code defines camping as using "real property of the City for living accommodation purposes such as sleeping activities, or making preparations to sleep, including the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping, or storing personal belongings, or making any fire, or using any tents or shelter or other structure or vehicle for sleeping or doing any digging or earth breaking or carrying on cooking activities."

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