Coltl, a 21-year-old senior at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta, was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. After her arrest, she was taken to an immigration detention center in Alabama and on Tuesday a judge denied her bond, said sorority sister Lila Parra.
"My heart just breaks," Parra said. "She fought so hard and did so well academically and to get shut down in her senior year, it's just not fair."
Choltl's parents brought her to the U.S. when she was 10. Two of her three younger siblings were born here and are American citizens, Parra said.
Parra and about 30 other Lambda Theta Alpha sorority members from several different universities joined a rally at the Georgia Capitol Saturday to march and rally in favor of federal immigration reform. The event was one of many planned around the country to protest a strict new immigration law in Arizona and to call on lawmakers to reform federal immigration laws. The rallies were held May 1 because it's a traditional day of protest and International Workers Day.
Police and organizers estimated that about 5,000 people participated. Protesters carried American flags and signs demanding legalization for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. and an end to deportations.
State Rep. Pedro Marin, one of a handful of Hispanic members of the Georgia Legislature, addressed the rally Saturday, calling on the crowd to register to vote and to actually cast ballots to ensure that lawmakers hear their voices.
"We cannot allow Georgia to turn into Arizona," Marin said, referring to the new law in Arizona that makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and lets police question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant.
The Arizona law's passage has galvanized immigrant rights groups across the country, prompting calls to boycott Arizona businesses and protests outside Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games.
Many in Arizona support the law amid growing anger over the federal government's failure to secure the border. The state has become a major gateway for drug smuggling and human trafficking from Mexico.
In the final days of the legislative session this week, the Georgia Senate passed a resolution to urge Washington to secure the borders because Georgia "is unable to withstand the financial burden created by illegal immigration." The resolution urges President Barack Obama and Congress to devote more resources to tightening immigration control.
Cabinet maker Fernando Baltazar, 25, came to the Atlanta rally with his wife, Evelina. He arrived in the U.S. 10 years ago on a work visa but didn't leave after it expired.
"I think the marches are very important because we want the people in Congress to hear us," Baltazar said in Spanish. "We need immigration reform because there are so many of us here who just want to work and want to be able to do that legally."
Coral Aguirre, 32, was born in the U.S. after her mother crossed the border illegally from Mexico so her children would have a better life. She lives in Woodstock in suburban Atlanta, and attended the Saturday rally at the Capitol as she has in past years.
"My mother came here illegally and is now legal, so I wanted to come out and support those who don't have a voice," she said.