Police detain DACA protesters as they form human chain, block traffic in downtown Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The deadline for DACA has come and gone, but there are still no new proposals on the issue, and many DACA recipients are stuck in confusion for the time being.

Here in Indy, protesters lined up outside the offices of Senator Joe Donnelly and Senator Todd Young. The group Faith in Indiana is trying to urge the senators to take action on DACA.

Some of those protesters formed a human chain, blocking traffic at Pennsylvania and Ohio Streets. Police issued warnings, but some of the protesters didn’t move out of the street.

The protesters sang “We Shall Overcome” while they were detained by police.  Dean and Rector at Christ Church Cathedral Stephen Carlsen was among those arrested, the church confirmed.

An IMPD spokesperson says those arrested now face charges of obstructing traffic, a misdemeanor.

The protesters cited a lack of action taken by Senator Donnelly and Senator Young as inspiration for their display. Shelley Goldman, a rabbi, said her biggest concern lies with families  being "torn apart" as a result of congresses inaction.

“They’re failing to take a stance and create new laws on an issue that every agrees on..almost the vast majority of the country believes there should be pathways to citizenship," Goldman said.

The protesters also called on the Senators to de-fund I.C.E and stop deportations.

By Tuesday afternoon, both Senator Donnelly and Senator Young had responded to the protests,

In a statement Senator Donnelly said:

"I recently supported several proposals that came before the Senate, which included bipartisan bills to protect DACA youth and strengthen our borders. I’m disappointed the Senate failed to advance a DACA solution. I believe the only way we will address DACA is by working together, and I will continue working with my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats to find a resolution, though ultimately, Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan, and President Trump will need to support a commonsense solution too.”

Senator Young's office also responded with a statement, saying:

"Senator Young remains hopeful we can address immigration and border security in a bipartisan way and give legal certainty to those already in the country."


Here is where DACA stands on the day after it was originally set to expire:


President Barack Obama introduced DACA in June 2012 by executive action, giving hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country illegally as children two-year, renewable permits to live and work. To qualify, they needed to have arrived before their 16th birthday, been under 31 in June 2012, completed high school or served in the military, and have clean criminal records.

Nearly 683,000 people were enrolled at the end of January, eight out of every 10 from Mexico.


Courts have removed much of the urgency, but DACA recipients whose applications are pending are at risk until their petitions are granted.

Former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, now Trump's chief of staff, last year scrapped the Obama administration's policy of limiting deportations to people who pose a public safety threat, convicted criminals and those who have crossed the border recently, effectively making anyone in the country illegally vulnerable. Deportation arrests have surged more than 40 percent under Trump.

There were nearly 14,000 people with expired permits who applied for renewals but had not received them at the end of January. There were also nearly 22,000 whose initial applications had yet to be decided.


DACA advocates have been using Monday's deadline to intensify pressure on the White House and Congress for permanent protection. The ACLU said Sunday that it launched "multiple six-figure advertising buys" with United We Dream and MoveOn.org, focusing on Trump.

On Monday itself, activists and DACA recipients held rallies and marches around the country. In Washington, D.C., supporters took to the streets around Capitol Hill, with signs saying "Build Bridges, Not Walls" and "No Person Is Illegal." Demonstrators block intersections in acts of civil disobedience.


Alsup ruled Jan. 9 that the administration failed to justify ending the program and that the plaintiffs — the states of California, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota as well as the University of California — had a good chance of winning at trial. His nationwide injunction required the administration to resume accepting renewal requests within a week.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in New York later issued a similar ruling.

On Feb. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the administration's unusual request to intervene, which would have leapfrogged the appeals court.

On Monday, a federal judge in Maryland ruled that the government has the legal right to wind down DACA. However, the ruling doesn't change Alsup's nationwide injunction and therefore had no immediate impact.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals put its review of Alsup's decision on fast track, but legal experts do not expect a decision until June at the earliest. From there, it is expected to go to the Supreme Court, likely keeping DACA alive through November midterm elections.


In January, the president proposed a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants as part of an immigration package that included $25 billion for a wall and other border enforcement measures and sharp cuts to legal immigration. The Senate rejected it.

Immigrant advocates and their allies in Congress want a narrower bill that would protect DACA recipients, possibly combined with limited border enforcement measures, but the administration has balked. Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the impasse, while Democrats say he created it by ending DACA.

Congress must pass a spending bill by March 23 to keep the government running, giving Democrats a chance to condition support on a DACA bill. Democrats forced a partial shutdown in January with that goal in mind but relented after three days.

Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, a Cornell University law professor, says the Supreme Court's refusal to intervene "throws the DACA program back into Congress' lap."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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