Vigil For Detroit Undocumented Youth Arrested In Atlanta

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A vigil is being held on Wednesday night to bring attention to the arrest of a Michigan undocumented youth in Atlanta.

Twenty-one year-old Dayanna Rebolledo was one of eight undocumented youths who were arrested near the campus of Georgia State University. She was demanding that colleges and universities refuse implementation of bans on higher education. 

With chants of “Refuse The Ban” and “Education Not Deportation,” the undocumented youth sat in the middle of the street, stopping traffic on the corner of Decatur and Courtland in downtown Atlanta.

protest2 Vigil For Detroit Undocumented Youth Arrested In Atlanta

(Photo Credit: David Goldman/AP)

As the foreign-born youngsters sat in the road, at times holding hands, hundreds of supporters lined the street and cheered in support as the illegal immigrants were led away in handcuffs.

Before the sit-in the youngsters, their voices trembling, each stood before the crowd, took a microphone and announced: “I am undocumented, and I am unafraid.”

The group protested in an effort to bring national attention to the issue of equal access to education. They are also upset with what they see as anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia and elsewhere across the country. A similar student rally was held last month in Detroit.

South Carolina passed a law banning illegal immigrants from attending state colleges and universities, but a similar measure in Georgia failed. However, Georgia’s university system late last year approved a rule that essentially bans illegal immigrants from the five most competitive public schools in the state, if those colleges had rejected academically eligible students because of a high number of applicants.

The protest was part of “The Dream is Coming” project, which was created to advocate for the DREAM Act, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for certain young people who were brought here at a young age. It has failed to pass Congress several times, most recently in December.

According to a release, when asked why she participated in this action Rebolledo responded, “I decided to risk my deportation because I’m tired of seeing undocumented youth being treated like second class citizens. I want these youth to become empowered to come forward and share their stories.” 

The vigil, held by Michigan-based immigration rights advocacy group “One Michigan,” will begin at 5:30 pm on Wednesday at St. Hedwig (3245 Junction St. Detroit).

The protesters were charged with obstructing traffic. Atlanta police do not participate in a local-federal partnership that empowers local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law, so the likelihood of the students being turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was low. As of now, there is no word whether ICE will be involved with the case.

Rebolledo came to the United States when she was 9 years old. She grew up in Detroit and is a leader of the immigrant rights group One Michigan. She is currently attending Henry Ford Community College and hopes to one day become a teacher.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • SW Detroiter

    Lets see. She is an adult and she is committing a crime. Therefore she must also condone all crimes committed by adults if that person feels it is okay. Once she turned 18, it was her responsibility to become legal, or better yet, go back home and fix Mexico. Why should the United States lower itself to Mexico’s standards instead of having them improve theirs?

    • Also a SW Detroiter

      Hi there, straw man. Love how you imply that because she is an adult impeding traffic in an act of civil disobedience, that she must condone all crimes committed by adults if that “criminal” feels it is okay to commit the hypothetical crime.

      Also love how you assume she’s from Mexico.

      Thanks for making my day.

  • Brandy B.

    Youth? At 21, Miss Rebolledo is an adult. If she is so concerned about getting a higher education that she’d risk deportation, why isn’t she concerned with gaining LEGAL citizenship first? ILLEGAL immigrants should be denied access to higher education, among other things. People who come to this country illegally, for whatever reason, do not deserve the same rights that are provided for legal American citizens and should be treated like second class citizens. Why should illegal immigrants have the right to take things such as a seat in a top university away from legal American citizens?

    • Manuel M.

      Hi Brandy. Could you explain to me how legal immigration into the US works? Thanks.

      • spytheweb

        ” * Green Card overview
        * How to qualify for a Green Card
        * How to obtain a Green Card through Adoption
        * How to obtain a Green Card through Employment
        * How to obtain a Green Card through Investment
        * How to obtain a Green Card through Marriage
        * How to obtain a Green Card through a Relative
        * How to obtain a Green Card as a Special Immigrant
        * How to apply if you are already in the United States
        * How to apply if you are outside the United States
        * Green Card Interview Information

  • Jim

    Get rid of all illegals, peroid. Especially those who don’t want to try for citizenship. There shoud be no money, no free education, health care, or anything else. Hey, I have an idea: Join the military, put in your four years, earn money from the VA for college as you apply for citizenship. As a Army veteran, I hate those who want something for nothing. If you don’t like it here: Mexican: GO HOME!

    • Jean. O

      The level of ignorance shown in your comment is overwhelming. I highly recommend you to research WHY these people have to do what they do (it involves your government).
      There isn’t free education, there isn’t free healthcare or anything. Where do you even live? Are you seriously that ignorant to assume that they get everything for free? Please, do a simple google search and you’ll see that you have to be a citizen to get free healthcare or anything else for that matter. The only thing, which works rather conveniently for the government, they are allowed to do is pay taxes. Yes- and it’s because the IRS allows them to. So, before you say anything ever again, step away from a computer, inform yourself correctly without making assumptions, and THEN comment.

      • spytheweb

        “With four new illegal immigrants now having their dialysis done at UMC’s emergency room — and monthly visits jumping from 216 in August to 243 currently — the billed charges for the 84 illegal immigrants are now at about $2.4 million a month — or $28 million a year.”

        Advocacy group helps illegal immigrants get tax refunds, even those with bogus social security cards.

      • Mors Hostibus

        Jeano it is you that need to do some research.

        57% of households headed by an immigrant with children used AT LEAST ONE WELFARE PROGRAM this compares with 38% of native households with children.

        Conservative estimates are that 71% of households headed by an illegal immigrant with children are have used welfare programs.

        Obviously, These illegals always skew the numbers for immigrants overall, upward. Translation: Remove the illegals, seal the border, end chain migration, and end birthright citizenship then we will see a reduction in the use of welfare.

        Jeano, you are telling someone, who you do not know, to stop talking. You are threatening their free speech. This is detestable and unacceptable behavior in our exceptional country. Perhaps you should read the Bill of Rights before attempting to restrict the free speech of others.

    • Katy

      Jim, I am sure that they would love the oppurtunity to join the military. That is what the DREAM Act is about. It is to open the door to allow young people to join the military or otherwise earn their way onto a path to legalization. Unfortuntely many people such as you and Brandy seem to think that there already is a legal way for people to immigrate. However, this, unfortunately, is not true. The only people who can apply to come to the US legally are ones who happen to have a relative who is a US Citizen, or be highly educated in a career that has a shortage of US workers. Under current law these young people can not earn legalization though any means whatsoever. All they want is an opportunity. Only after we have a legal means will it be fair to criticize people for not using it. Back when our ancestors arrived the door was open. But since 1964 it has been shut to all but a very few lucky people who did nothing to earn it on their own merits.

  • TJ

    I agree that,beiling ILLEGALLY in this country, this woman should be deported. There is a legal means to be in this country, thousands of resident aliens follow the requirements. Our ancestors most likely followed the rules. I have no sympathy for this woman

  • Mors Hostibus

    Copy this into your browser, the Gumball Video will open your eyes.
    The next time the “open borders crowd” tries to paint you as cruel or insensitive with their “don’t you care about them?”

    Creating an “illegal immigrant problem” here in America does NOTHING to end world poverty.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Best Winter Festivals In Metro Detroit
Thanksgiving Parade Guide

Watch & Listen