AUSTIN - Police arrested 15 people from a group of protesters that marched through Downtown Austin Wednesday morning in an effort to ensure that the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program stays in place.
The protesters were with the group known as Movimiento Cosecha. They marched toward the Capitol from 15th and Lavaca St.
"It is important for the community to know, for the American people to know that it is about us, it is about people and we are asking for dignity and respect and I think that's all we're looking for," said Reyna Montoia.
Montoia told KVUE she's a DACA recipient and volunteers for the Cosecha organization. She traveled to Austin from Arizona.
"Best outcome would be that other folks are going to take action and to see the reality is that we as undocumented people in the United States are living and that they will see we are human beings, that's just want to continue to be here in this nation," said Montia.
The group said they're standing up for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
"We are fighting for permits protection for everyone, for all those 11 million," said fellow volunteer Alejandra Cruz.
The group is fighting to keep DACA, which Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has made clear he wants to end.
"As a DACA recipient, this is something that impacts me, but it also impacts the rest of my family," said Montia. "We know that we cannot continue to put our faith in politicians, but we need to take action as a community."
They also want to stop the ban on the so-called sanctuary cities, which the Texas Legislature passed during the regular session earlier this year.
"This is something that is hitting home, but even though you don't see your being impacted, it's impacting our nation, and it's a matter of do you want to remain silent when you see these injustices or are you going to stand with us," said Montia. "It is going to impact our whole nation if we continue with this hateful rhetoric."
As the group marched towards the Capitol, they chanted things like "Injustice is not welcome here," and "one struggle one fight, immigrants of the world unite."
"We are in Austin because here is where the pain of the immigrant community is born," said one protester on a megaphone.
According to the Cosecha group, four of the 15 people arrested are DACA recipients.
"They are doing it for their parents, they are doing it for their friends who didn't qualify for DACA, they are doing it for themselves," said Cruz.
"We are your neighbors, we are your teachers, we are your laborers, we are people who are just regular like any other folks," said Montia.
"I'm here because I'm a DACA student, but this is not just about DACA, it's about the permanent protection, dignity and respect of all 11 million undocumented immigrants," said Miriam Zamudio.
Zambudio was one of the protesters who was arrested after sitting in the street.
"I'm here for my parents, I'm here because every day I fear my parents are going to get deported and I am here because I am not more deserving than my parents," said Zamudio.
She's also a DACA recipient.
"I'm not just going to sit back and watch, this is a call out to all immigrants that we need to stand up, and we need to stop believing that the politicians are going to give us what we want we have to demand what we want," said Zambudio. "Before we got DACA there were a lot of dreamers who risked their lives and without them, without them putting everything at risk, we didn't get DACA."
She knew the dangerous possibilities going into Wednesday protest.
"The worst case scenario is that we get deported, and I'm willing to do that for all 11 million undocumented immigrants," said Zambudio. "It's time for all 11 million undocumented immigrants to receive what they deserve."
"The four people with DACA know the risks of getting arrested we are in a trump administration and we know that DACA is under threat," said one of the Cosecha leaders.
"This action today is not geared towards any politician, we're not going out there to try to fight for the dream act right now, we're not trying to fight for something specific, what were saying is that to the undocumented community this is how doc I was one and this is how we are going to continue to fight for one another," said Erika Andiola.
"I'm doing this for my family and sisters who are undocumented and my six-month-old son," yelled one man as he was taken away in handcuffs.
"I am here because I am fighting for all the 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants in this country," said another woman who was arrested, and restrained with zip ties.
"Time is running out under this leadership we need to do whatever we can now, put whatever we can on the line," said another one of the 15 people arrested at the protest. "My whole family for generations has been in the struggle."
"We have seen that only victories have one when communities put everything at risk," said a Cosecha leader. "Every time they want our votes they talk to us, but once they get into office they forget about us."
KVUE's Christy Millweard streamed the protest live on Facebook:
The group told Millweard that they plan to have bands and several people at the Travis County Jail at 6 p.m. to continue their protest.
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