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Immigration activists protest in Center City

An activist minister, an undocumented mother of American citizens, a teenager born in Philadelphia to a woman living here illegally, and a member of the immigrant support group Juntos were arrested Tuesday during a protest in Center City.

The demonstration blocked the Broad Street exit of the Vine Street Expressway for more than an hour, from 11 a.m. to shortly after noon.

Backed by about 50 supporters, the four were demonstrating against last week's Supreme Court ruling that blocked two executive actions by President Obama that would given temporary protection from deportation to more than four million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

Asked why he was risking arrest, Rev. Adan Mairena, of the West Kensington Ministry of Norris Square, answered: "Because there are 4.4 million people suffering a lot more than I am."

The protesters gathered at 10 a.m. in front of the Immigration and Custom Enfocrement office at 16th and Callowhill Streets, and marched around the building. The four who were arrested used plastic tubing to link arms across 15th Street..

Uniformed Philadelphia police responded, as well as plainclothes members of the civil affairs unit. Homeland Security agents cut the tubing, as police funneled backed-up traffic over a curb at the end of the Vine Street exit ramp.