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Kalamazoo 5th grader, mother arrested as part of immigration protest in DC

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A group of people demanding action on immigration reform was arrested in Washington, D.C. today, and a part of that group was a 12-year-old boy and his mother.

The 5th grader and his mother spent a few hours at a detention center in the nation's capitol, and paid about $50 to get out of jail.

Hundreds of people were there, they say, fighting to keep families together.

In the crowd chanting outside the Washington office of House Speaker John Boehner was 12-year-old Esteban Verdugo, of Kalamazoo, and his mother.

Both were among 18 demonstrators arrested Wednesday, while calling for immigration reform.

The young boy's father was deported to Mexico last year because of his legal status.

Esteban's younger brother, sister, and mother are all U.S. citizens.

"It was scary, but it was worth it, going to the detention center for our rights," he said by phone Wednesday.

Hundreds rallied in Washington, demanding change from House leadership, who they say refuse to take up a Senate bill passed during the summer of 2013, that is considered an historic comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"When it comes to what is right, and social justice, and keeping families together, I guess this is a moment a mother can say she is proud of her son for being arrested," Esteban's mother, Brannigan Sanchez said. "I didn't feel scared, I felt overly proud of my son to be able to stand up at his age and fight for what's right."

They tell Newschannel 3 that Esteban's father had been counted on to help take care of the family and they say thousands of families across the country are in a similar, urgent fight.

"I knew I didn't do anything majorly bad, and I was fighting for my family," Esteban said.

Of the 18 arrested Wednesday, about four were young kids.

The group Michigan United is hoping Congressman Fred Upton will work with them for change.