AUSTIN (KXAN) - Five people were arrested at a downtown immigration rally on Thursday afternoon. About 200 people were in attendance at the event.
The rally was taking place on Sixth Street between Colorado and Lavaca streets. Protestors were lying on the street, forcing traffic to be shut down along Sixth Street.
The U.S. Senate passed historic legislation Thursday offering the hope of citizenship to millions of immigrants living illegally in America's shadows. The bill also promises a military-style effort to secure the long-porous border with Mexico.
The immigration reform advocates have been traveling for 10 days and visiting 16 cities throughout Texas before arriving in Austin.
Their organizer, Christina Parker of El Paso, disagreed with the legislation passed Thursday.
"It's going to militarize the border," Parker said. "It's doubling the border patrol...building more walls, doubling the drones they've already got, surveillance and radar cameras. It's turning our border into a war zone."
Chavel Lopez led a group up from San Antonio. Despite a 68-32 passage of the immigration bill in the senate today he had a similar complaint.
"We're coming out here in a statewide march to demand just immigration reform not tied into militarization of the border," Lopez said.
Some might have wondered why such a protest would take place on the day the Senate approved long awaited immigration reform. Austin police chief Art Acevedo, who came to the scene after the protest started, says he understands why.
"It's no secret the House of Representatives has a different point of view," Acevedo said. "I think what these people are doing is sending a message, that they are watching."
The group also said the rally was held to denounce Senator John Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz for their anti-immigrant and anti-Latino stance on immigration reform.
The five people arrested face civil disturbance charges, a Class C misdemeanor. They were released about 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
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