Protesters occupy the intersection of Montgomery and Sutter streets during a rally requesting an end deportations, April 4. Photo Derek Wozniak

A protest held on April 5 against the Obama administration’s continuous deportation of undocumented immigrants ended with 23 arrests.

The protesters encircled the intersection at Montgomery and Sutter streets holding canvases painted with images of the president and pleas to end deportations.

“¡Sí se puede!” was the rallying cry heard from nearby banks and offices as pastors, a rabbi, and activists spoke out against deportation laws they say tear parents away from their children.

“Everyday my grandchildren are stressed because they don’t know when they are going to lose their parents,” said Gloria Esteva, a grandmother whose daughter was arrested at the protest. “We’re universal mothers. We want the president to see that we’re not willing to be treated with so much indignity.”

A vanguard of activists sat, arms linked, in the center of the intersection chanting for President Obama to listen. There was a heavy police presence surrounding the protesters. Twenty minutes after linking their arms the police asked the protesters, one by one, to desist or be arrested. None left.

“I was in the deportation proceedings. It felt hopeless. I almost gave up on school, I almost gave up on my life here in the United States,” said Putri Siti, 20, a member of Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE). “I thought the country that I’ve been calling home rejected me, rejected my existence.”

In 2011 alone, 392,000 undocumented immigrants were deported—48 percent for breaking U.S. laws—according the Department of Homeland Security. Deportations have steadily increased since 2002.

“This is part of a national series of actions,” said a member of the SF Bay Coalition for Immigrant Justice, who wished to remain anonymous. “To say ‘not one more deportation,’ and (to) demand that the president use the authority he has to stop the suffering of immigrant families.”

The civil disobedience seen at 100 Montgomery St. was part of protests taking place in 40 cities on Saturday, April 5, under the slogan, “Not one More.” According to the Applied Research Center, an immigrant reform advocacy group, over 5,000 children have been left in foster care as a result of their parents’ deportations.

According to the same sources, if deportations continue at this rate, the number is likely to rise to 15,000 in the next five years.

Protesters will continue to be emboldened as deportations rise. Discontent is sure to peak on May 1, International Worker’s Day, a date on which immigrants’ advocates have chosen to voice their concerns every year since 2006.