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Activists Protest Deportations, As Immigrants Released Amid Budget Cuts

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CHICAGO (CBS) – In west suburban Broadview, a weekly protest and prayer vigil outside the federal immigration detention center took on added significance Friday morning.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports the Obama administration released hundreds of low-risk undocumented immigrants this week, ahead of the automatic federal budget cuts required by an obscure process known as sequestration.

The government did that because it said it could not afford to house the low-risk immigrants because of the looming cuts set to go into effect on Friday.

The undocumented immigrants still must wear electronic monitoring devices on their ankles, and deportation proceedings against them will continue.

That’s why 25-year old Chicago area college student Maria Marroquin, who is also an undocumented immigrant from Peru, said the release of the immigrants “still doesn’t change anything.”

“We still have hundreds of thousands of people getting deported by this administration that supposedly supports immigrants,” Marroquin said.

She said she can no longer stay in the shadows.

“I decided that I couldn’t live that way any longer. I needed to come out of the shadows, I needed to share my story with people so they could understand that it’s not just numbers, that it’s actual human beings who are being put in this situation,” she said.

She said her parents are both afraid to follow her lead. The family has been in the United States for 13 years, she said, and she considers this country to be her home.

Marroquin said President Barack Obama professes to be for immigrants, but that thousands of undocumented immigrants a year are returned to their countries of origin.

“These unjust and unfair policies, we need to keep protesting them; and by coming out, people are doing just that,” she said.

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