Jacinta Gonzalez was arrested, along with Michael Cassidy and Stephany Laughlin, for locking herself by the neck to a van and blocking a highway leading to a Phoenix-area Donald Trump rally on Saturday.
Her colleagues were released by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office early on Sunday at 1 a.m., but Gonzalez was held overnight by officials, something she attributes to her last name.
A Mexican-born U.S. citizen who belongs to a immigration group called Mijente (a variation of “My People”), Gonzalez told Phoenix station, ABC15, that she was questioned by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, unlike Cassidy and Laughlin. She told the station a “hold” was placed on her and she was transferred to ICE custody.
Maricopa County sheriff’s officials told the station that all three protesters were interviewed by ICE agents, and confirmed that a hold was placed on Gonzalez.
ICE issued a statement to ABC15 reading, "[Gonzalez] was recently released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after database checks determined she currently holds a valid United States passport. Under current ICE procedures, all foreign-born individuals who are booked into the Maricopa County Jail are interviewed by ICE personnel to determine alienage and removability and whether they would be an enforcement priority for the agency."
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and its head, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, have been investigated and cited by federal agencies and courts on charges of racial profiling and targeting Hispanics in the past, charges Arpaio has consistently denied.
On Saturday, protesters blocked Shea Boulevard at two different locations in order to try to prevent people from reaching a Trump rally.
"That's the way to make your voice heard, to do something like this," Brianda Martinez, who supported the protesters, told ABC15.
"No, I am not surprised, we expected it," Jo Puma, a Trump supporter, told the station. "We are not going to stop, it's not going to make us give up."
The Republican presidential front-runner has built his primary lead by proposing building a wall along the Mexican border and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.
It’s a theme that resonates with many people – both pro and anti – in this border state, where Arpaio, former governor Jan Brewer and other public officials have gained notoriety by talking tough on immigration.
When a reporter from the station noted to Gonzalez after her release that many people were upset by the group blocking traffic, she answered, “Many people were upset by that, but we’re also very upset that they’re talking about breaking up our families and communities.”