Students Arrested At Statehouse Immigration Protest

5 Undocumented Immigrant Students Arrested

Six students, most of them undocumented immigrants, were arrested outside Gov. Mitch Daniels' office Monday while protesting strict immigration bills he's expected to sign soon.

The students, wearing their high school graduation gowns, wanted to meet with Daniels to discuss Senate Bill 590 and House Bill 1402, the latter of which would make undocumented students ineligible for in-state tuition at Indiana colleges and universities, no matter how long they have lived in the state.

The otherwise peaceful rally became heated when the students tried to enter Daniels' office without an appointment, police said.

The students were arrested, handcuffed and taken away from the Statehouse. Urier Gama, 20; Sayra Perez; Idamarie Collazo, 21; Guadalupe Pimental, 18; Erick Gama, 20; and Ana Ruiz-Toyar, 23, were preliminarily charged with criminal trespass. Collazo, who is not one of the undocumented students, also faces charges of interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest.

"They were given the opportunity three different times over the span of about 15 to 20 minutes to leave the area and not face any arrest," said Indiana State Police 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten. "They're getting exactly what they asked for. They wanted some publicity; they're getting the publicity. They wanted to be arrested; they are being arrested for criminal trespass."

Erick Gama, an undocumented immigrant who was arrested at the rally, was brought to the country when he was 11 years old. He graduated with academic honors from Arsenal Technical High School and currently attends Indiana University.

(from top left) Urier Gama, 20; Sayra Perez; Idamarie Collazo, 21; Guadalupe Pimental, 18; Erick Gama, 20; and Ana Ruiz-Toyar, 23.

He said fellow students need to take a stand.

"As soon as tomorrow, HB 1402 could go into effect and our dreams could be shattered," he said. "We just want to have an education, and we're being blocked."

Sen. Michael Delph, R-Carmel, who sponsored the legislation, said the rule of law should be followed.

"They are going to need to return to their country of origin and enter by lawful means," Delph said.

Daniels' spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, said the governor intends to sign the bills in the next few days.