Washington, D.C. – Several immigration activists who are part of the “Dream 30” staged a sit in at Congressional offices on Monday which resulted in the arrest of three activists for unlawful entry. The activists staged the sit-in in the effort to convince Latino Lawmakers to put pressure on President Obama and stop the deportation of eight members of the “Dream 30,” the AP reported.
The activists flooded the halls of Congress and staged sit-ins at the offices of Latino lawmakers. Marco Pacheco and Marcela Espinoza refused to leave the offices until the lawmakers called the Department of Homeland Security, VOXXI reported.
Capitol Police confirmed to the AP that they arrested Pacheco for unlawful entry in the office of Rep. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas), who also chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Espinoza was arrested in the office of Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), who has long been a vocal advocate of immigration reform.
Later on Monday, Capitol Police arrested Brandol Hernandez in the officer Sen. Bob Menendez (D. – NJ).
The three people who were arrested are part of the “Dream 30” a group of 34 undocumented immigrants who crossed the Texas border with Mexico in September and were arrested for unlawful entry. Of the 34 who were arrested, 21 have been released, eight are still in detention and awaiting a decision from the immigration court and one has been deported.
Jasmine Mora, communications director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement to the AP that “fixing our nation’s immigration system will require putting pressure on Republican members and senators. In the past, (Hinojosa’s) staff has met multiple times with the DREAM 30 group to hear their concerns.”
The sit-in at Gutiérrez’s office back-fired on the activists and his spokesman said the Representative would no longer work with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance and DREAMActivist.org., two of the organizations who staged the protest.
Douglas Rivlin, a spokesman for Gutiérrez explained in a statement, “The Congressman met privately with the parents of some of the young people in detention in El Paso last week in Washington; a meeting that was frank, emotional, and confidential. But that meeting was also recorded surreptitiously by NIYA, without the knowledge of the parents, the Congressman or his staff. It is unfortunate that the actions of the advocates in this case are preventing this office from being able to work with parents and family who are understandably and rightly concerned for the safety of their son or daughter.”
According to VOXXI, fourteen other protestors staged sit-ins at the offices of Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.). These sit-ins however did not result in any arrests.
Monday’s protest is among the many that have taken place throughout the country with the hopes of pressuring Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. But there is little sign that the numerous protests have inspired the House to act since they have been holding up immigration reform since the Senate passed their bill in June.