October 8th, 2013
06:46 PM ET
5 years ago

Members of Congress arrested at immigration rally

Updated 10/9/2013 at 11:26am

Washington (CNN) – Several House Democrats were arrested near the Capitol on Tuesday during a march for immigration reform.

Reps. John Lewis, Charlie Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutierrez, Al Green and Joseph Crowley locked arms with other protesters, allegedly blocking traffic and refusing to disperse.

Approximately 200 demonstrators were arrested, according to U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kim Schneider. The demonstration activity has concluded, Schneider said, and all roads that had been closed are open.

Those arrested will face charges of "crowding, obstructing and incommoding," according to Schneider.

Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights era, has been no stranger to civil disobedience arrests. He's been arrested five times as a member of Congress, including the immigration rally, according to his Congressional office, and at least 45 in total.

No altercations were seen as police used plastic cuffs to restrain the protesters, searched them and led them to police vans for transport and processing.

Following the arrests, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement in support of the protests.

"The enthusiastic demonstration of support for immigration reform this week has proven to Congress that the broad coalition behind commonsense solutions to our nation’s broken immigration laws is as strong as it has ever been," Carney said in a written statement. "It is time for House Republicans to put politics aside and join Democrats to fix our broken immigration system and make the economy stronger."

In addition to members of Congress, protest attendees included Latino artists and members of pro-reform groups.

The rally came under fire by conservative groups earlier in the week after it was issued a permit by the National Park Service despite the partial government shutdown that resulted in the closure of the National Mall.

Filed under: Congress • Immigration
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. the hippies were right

    How dare you politicians stand for the people! What is wrong with you!!!

    October 8, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. The Ham

    Ahhh... Our government at work as usual...

    October 8, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. chris

    Of course this administration provides funding for their buddies, and security to stop veterans from visiting veteran memorials. but screw the rest of us huh. obama not negotiating on obamacare is absurd, he gave big businesses a one year pass on obamacare. what about the rest of us? why don't we get the one year waiver that wasn't in the original bill, and definitely wasn't passed by the supreme court. obamacare will be an abysmal failure. it relies on young healthy people to sign up and get overcharged for healthcare. just think of all the broke young people signing up in masses for obamacare that they can't afford and wouldn't afford if they could...... stopped laughing yet? do any of you believe my generation is going to make this disaster work? your only fooling yourself

    October 8, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. homer234

    Congressmen need to be arrested for not doing their jobs PERIOD!

    October 8, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  5. Chris

    No wonder Obama allowed this demonstration, it was all about politicking for the liberals and nothing about Justice for the American Citizens and Taxpayers! Typical liberalism and racism.

    October 8, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. junkymag

    What are these guys doing? They should be trying to do their jobs and get gov't moving again... losers.

    October 8, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. homer234

    Congressmen should be arrested for not doing their jobs with the financial mess let alone protesting US laws in public...how disgraceful already!!!

    October 8, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. plain and simple

    Where is Ted Cruz on this one? Seems like a cause a real tea party member could support. You know....freedom!!!

    October 8, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. CaEd

    "The Senators and Representatives...shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same...."
    Article1, Section 6, Clause 1 of the US Constitution......

    October 8, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  10. gandfs

    Yeah right. What a dog and pony show. How much do you wanna bet before the march they called the police and suggested things would get out of control? This would be before they called the media to get coverage of their arrests of course.

    October 8, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Paul R.

    Please deport these illegal-hugging, traitorous pieces of carp, along with the criminal trespassers they serve.

    October 8, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. Nathan

    So Breaking the law is ok in Jay Carneys eyes if its for a cause that is for the Obama administrations agenda. Last I checked breaking the law is breaking the law.

    October 8, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. Elizabeth

    Senators can't block traffic, but the House can block the vote to restore the government and end the shutdown.

    October 8, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. Evander

    They should have gone in with tanks and ran over all those illegal criminals.

    October 8, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  15. boungiorno

    imagine that & maybe the problem was right in front of us and we didnt see it Seriously

    October 8, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. MJ

    So Republicans congressmen try to solve our impending sovereign debt crisis with Obama acting as an obstructionist, and Democratic congressmen.... join a radical immigration protest. Seems sensical.

    October 8, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. BorisKarlof

    Good...deport them with all the useless scumbag illegals as well since the bigots hold illegals above American workers....

    October 8, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. Rembrant

    Our Government becomes a bigger mess as time ticks by.

    October 8, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. Nate

    Nothing biased about a permit for a cause the democrats endorse...but shut down all of the parks...

    October 8, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. Hal

    Glad to see our tax dollars wasted on these libtards.

    October 8, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. Very Disappointed

    I don't see why this is such an issue. We are all immigrants in some way. Even Native Americans immigrated over the land bridge between Alaska and Russia thousands of years ago before it melted. This is supposed to be a country for everyone. Don't get me wrong, I believe there should be a legal process to go through, but stop just denying people because they come from certain places. Give me your tired your poor.

    October 8, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. ProtectAmericanJobs

    We need to Stop ILLEGAL immigration! They're not just doing jobs that Americans don't want. Do they pay state and federal income taxes? Don't get me wrong most of these people work hard, but are a drain on the system if they don't pay income taxes, have healthcare coverage, learn the language or get paid wages that are in line with their American counterparts. We all know that the health care provided to uninsured illegals here in the states is being averaged into our hospital costs and our insurance premiums, which have PROPORTIONATELY increased along with illegal immigration over the last 20 years? These costs are also being passed along to Medicaid and Medicare, which means that not only are they increasing our insurance premiums, but that we're paying for them again with our tax dollars. Our tax dollars and insurance premiums should not be used to recoup the cost of healthcare given to illegal aliens, who shouldn't even be here in our country in the first place.

    Just look around and you'll see who's doing 90% of the residential renovations, construction and property maintenance jobs. That's certainly what we're seeing in the northeast. These are not just jobs that Americans don't want.

    The hiring of cheap illegal labor causes a chain reaction. The contractors who hire cheap, uninsured, non-income-taxpaying, ILLEGAL aliens undercut the contractors who hire US Citizens or Legal immigrants. Even if the contractor wants to continue to employ US Citizens or Legal tax-paying immigrants, they end up replacing their Legal employees with illegals just to be able to get the work. Unfortunately unions and the old "that's not my job" union attitudes here in the USA have also contributed to this problem.

    Also when these Non-income-tax-paying Illegal Aliens take American Citizens jobs they also are taking away the income tax revenue that those working American Citizens would be providing to our government. In addition, the American Citizens who have their jobs taken away by these Illegal Aliens then have to be paid unemployment and usually have no healthcare insurance either because they can't afford COBRA, which adds even more to our deficit and further increases our healthcare costs.

    I run a business that does it the right way and employs 20 US Citizens and 1 Legal Immigrant and I believe that the use of Workplace Raids is a perfectly realistic way to put a stop to this BS. Plus we should publish the results of these workplace raids and fines to the public, so American Citizens and customers could see which companies are employing illegals.

    Let's get the good productive illegal immigrants into the system and paying federal and state income tax or get them out and NOT Let Any More Come In unless they come in as Legal Immigrants. Make them apply for legal visas and or U.S. citizenship and if they don't, then get them out. If they get rejected get them out or give them one quick appeal and if they still get rejected, then get them out. And let's send the bad ILLEGAL Aliens back to where they came in and let's STOP ANYMORE ILLEGAL ALIENS from getting in.

    I also think we should start using our military to Start Keeping ILLEGAL Aliens Out.

    October 8, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. Steve from Queens

    No one is touchin' this one huh? While I fully support the cause, I think blocking traffic is childish. People have places to go.

    October 8, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. SHaTRO

    How exactly does one obstruct the operation of a system that has been shut down? How does obstruction of a through-way compare to obstruction of the operation of the government?

    18 U.S.C. § 371 – Conspiracy Against the U.S. Government. Courts have ruled that "proof that the United States has been defrauded under this statute does not require any showing of monetary or proprietary loss." The government can show intent to defraud by proving "any willful impairment of a legitimate function of government, whether or not the improper acts or objective are criminal under another statute."

    October 8, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. davecu

    About time for Rangel to start doing time.
    How has he stayed out of jail so long?

    October 8, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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