PHOENIX – Federal authorities say they won't deport six undocumented immigrants arrested during a Phoenix protest over Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration policies.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Wednesday that they determined that the protesters did not fall under "ICE's enforcement priorities,” which focuses on people with serious criminal records.
Nearly 150 people were at Tuesday's rally, which blocked a street in front of Trevor Browne High School in Phoenix.
The online group Dream Activist helped organize the protest, saying it sent a representative to Phoenix to act as a coordinator.
The group has sponsored protests in more than six cities in recent years, according to the Arizona Republic.
None of those arrested were students in the district where the protest took place, school spokesperson Craig Pletenik said, according to the Arizona Republic. About 30 students from Trevor Browne high school joined the protest, Pletenik added.
Arpaio criticized the protesters, saying they should target the politicians who make the laws rather than the officials who enforce them.
“If these students/demonstrators have a concern over the immigration laws, they should bring those concerns to Congress, State Legislators, or the White House and not use this Sheriff as their poster boy," Arpaio said in a statement.
Phoenix police say the protesters were told to leave by 5:30 p.m. A line of officers then approached the protesters in the road and took some into custody.
The six were arrested for obstructing a thoroughfare and disorderly conduct. They included two girls, ages 16 and 17, two 20-year-old women, an 18-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.