Oct 11, 2013 6:54 PM by Brian White

17 arrested during immigration protest

TUCSON - The deportation hearings for 70 detainees that were delayed due to a protest have been rescheduled for next Tuesday, federal officials said.

The 70 defendants had their court appearances canceled Friday when the activists stopped the Border Patrol buses they were traveling on.

The activists were calling for an end to Operation Streamline, a meaure passed in 2005 that makes it a felony to cross the border illegally. Under this fast-track program, a federal criminal case with prison and deportation consequences is resolved in 2 days or less.

Of the 70 defendants on the two buses, 8 of them were appearing in court on felony charges, Tucson Police Chief Robert Villseñor said in a news conference.

Tucson Police began receiving calls just before 8 a.m. that a group of people had stopped the Border Patrol bus at Simpson and the frontage Road, Villaseñor said.

Twelve protesters used chains and pipes to lock themselves to the wheels of the bus. Special teams and power saws were used to remove the "dragon sleeves" from the protesters. Those twelve were eventually arrested and charged with hindering the prosecution of a federal case, a class 5 misdeameanor.

The second bus was freed from the protesters just after noon, Villaseñor said.

Villaseñor commented about the situation.

""We're definately caught in the middle of this whole immigration issue," he said.


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