More than 100 demonstrators over various subjects waved signs and chanted outside the Chicago Hilton hotel where President Obama will attend a fundraiser tonight, hours after arrests were made there.
About half had gathered to express their frustration with ongoing deportations of immigrants and with the immigration bill that is pending in Congress.
Some of the others waved red signs opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline. About a dozen abortion opponents also were gathered at the protest site, on the east side of the 700 block of South Michigan Avenue, with signs depicting aborted fetuses.
The protesters voiced a range of complaints against the president.
"I don't know what he has in his head to come in and fundraise for politicians a week after 50 schools got shut down in Chicago," said Esteban Burgoa, an Iraq war vet who was born in Mexico and carried a sign that urged an end to deportations, among other things. "Why doesn't he raise money for the educators?"
The demonstration was organized in part by immigration activists, including Undocumented Illinois, a coalition of groups across the state that want deportations halted as Congress works out an immigration reform bill.
"We're seeing people that would qualify for the reform be deported and displaced," said Xanat Sobrevilla, 25, an organizer from Chicago Ridge. "They are community members, they are parents, they are workers."
Twelve protesters who were expressing that message were arrested earlier today after they staged a sit-in outside the hotel, Sobrevilla said.
The eight female and four male protesters were taken into custody a little after 9:45 a.m. after they blocked traffic and refused to move, said Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.
They were expected to be charged with reckless conduct, obstructing or resisting the actions of a police officer, and obstructing a roadway, all misdemeanors, Mirabelli said.
Alfonso Seiva, of Pilsen, said he was there to "remind Obama of the Latino people."
"Nothing happened in the last four years and nothing is happening now," Seiva said as he held a large sign that said "Stop Deportation."
Others said they disapprove of the immigration bill under consideration in the Senate.
"We don't accept it; we believe it's not a just reform," said Vicki Cervantes, of the Coalition for Migrant Justice. "It creates semi-legal status where people don't have full rights. It leaves people still vulnerable."
Obama is in town for two fundraisers hosted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. After speaking at the Hilton this evening, he will attend the second fundraiser at a private residence.