A University of California, Berkeley student senator and six other illegal immigrant students were arrested after they blocked a street in San Bernardino during an immigration rally, according to the Contra Costa Times.
Ju Hong, 21, a political science major and student senator at UC Berkeley, traveled to San Bernardino Community College for a “coming out” rally for illegal immigrant students from across the state. Hong had reportedly planned on making a statement at the event, even though friends worried that his arrest could lead to deportation.
“Ju’s been very vocal about his immigration status. He just really wanted to share his story,” Yong Eo, a friend of Hong’s, told the newspaper. He said Hong came to the US on a tourist visa from South Korea when he was 11-years-old.
College officials told the media outlet that trouble didn’t start at the rally until protesters left campus grounds and interrupted traffic on a multi lane street. Six other undocumented students from a handful of nearby colleges were also arrested. The seven were charged with unlawful assembly and failure to disperse for blocking and refusing to leave a busy street.
The future of the students is hazy, since California currently abides by the federal Secure Communities program. The participation means anyone who is arrested and booked in a county jail will have fingerprints sent to a federal database monitored by immigration officials. Although the program is technically only suppose to identify and deport illegal immigrants charged with serious crimes, recent reports suggest that many immigrants have been deported for misdemeanors.