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Protesters Block Michigan Avenue, Call For End To Deportations

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A dozen protesters were arrested Wednesday morning after blocking traffic on Michigan Avenue, in a protest opposing federal immigration policies ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to Chicago.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports members of National People’s Action linked themselves together with PVC pipe outside the Hilton Chicago Hotel and Towers, where the president will attend a Democratic fundraiser Wednesday night.

“The PVC pipe was a part of our demonstration today to show the solidatrity between our 12 protesters,” spokeswoman Charlene Carruthers said. “They’re all connected to the movement, and dedicated to stopping deportations and separation of families.”

The group was protesting federal immigration rules that they said have led to the deportations of 400,000 undocumented immigrants each year.

“We wanted to make sure that the issue of humane immigration reform, and to stop all deportations was heard,” Carruthers said.

The activists said they were protesting Obama administration policies, not the president himself.

“He might be a nice guy in person, but … as president he’s been deporting and destroying families,” said Rigo Padilla, with the Immigrant Youth Justice League. “Obama – whether he gets it or not – he knows what is happening, and he’s destroying families.”

The group demanded an end to deportation of undocumented immigrants, and changes to immigration rules so families won’t be torn apart.

“Congress right now is debating passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill, and it doesn’t make sense to waste resources, and to waste the taxpayers money on deporting people that will eventually qualify under the comprehensive immigration reform proposals that the Senate and the House want to pass,” Padilla said.

Police officers cut the pieces of PVC pipe linking the 12 protesters before they were arrested.

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