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. Emulate the Founding Fathers

    Funny how WWII Veterans are blacked form their Memorial (paid for with private funds) but Obamao can open the Mall for an Immigration Rally.... good that they arrested the Traitor Congress person leeches... perhaps it would be good to shoot them for Treason... but not stop there.

    October 8, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  2. Tammi Drawdy

    I hate that they were arrested, but I think it's great that they stood up for what they believed in. It's about time someone in Washington does something besides sitting on their bum.

    October 8, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  3. Bill

    Can we just leave them in jail ? The country would probably be better off that way.

    October 8, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  4. David Stroebel

    Point for ethics reform: Currently lawmakers can be arrested for almost anything and not have it affect their career. You and me- we're done for...

    October 8, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Guest

    Finish the fence first. Then we'll talk.

    October 8, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  6. kyzaadrao

    So that's what we pay them for.

    October 8, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  7. Solitairedog

    But of course the Republicans will fix nothing. They are in more of a mood to destroy the government then complain about immigrants.

    October 8, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  8. cbp

    Demonstrations are not always a good thing because they can get out of hand. However, this demonstration was necessary. Our leaders are not taking their positions very seriously. First some of them refused to vote for anything which might be construed as a nod toward the reelection of President Obama. Now the government is shut down and the Republicans are doing everything possible to keep it that way. Therefore nothing is getting done. Congress has proven to be an embarrassment to us all. They need to be hard at work on legislation which will strengthen and preserve our nation.

    Perhaps anyone who will not receive their paycheck because of the shutdown should send their bills to Washington because are elected officials will get paid.

    October 8, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. Karen

    What the hell were members of Congress doing at a rally? They need to be in session – fixing our country!!

    October 8, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. Brad

    judging from their dismal performance in DC lately those fellows should just keep right on marching – outta town..

    October 8, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. Dan Jackson

    Proud of 'em!

    October 8, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. Jim

    Good, arrest these crooked twits. Immigration "reform" is another phrase for "let's let all the illegal aliens into our country and give them their language, give them lots of what we all worked hard for, but still hold the same rules for all LEGAL aliens, which mostly means, those not from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking, third world countries".

    October 8, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  13. Jim

    Nothing will get done with the republican anarchists. Common sense and rational changes? Republicans?

    October 8, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  14. Stanton Allaben

    Hey...let's get this gridlock in Congress fixed first. Immigration reform is not high on the agenda at this time. Sorry. Besides, more illegals are crossing the border again now that the economy is improving.

    October 8, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  15. JT123

    So the democrats and the White House are supporting illegal activities of protest by blocking traffic and refusing to obey a law officer? I guess it is ok to break the law if it is for a cause the democrats support. Wow.

    October 8, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  16. PetePete1

    They're working on immigration reform instead of starting the government back up?I urge all Americans to vote out each and everyone of these Bums out.

    October 8, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  17. Robert Lemasters

    Arrest and deport the illegals and forcefully remove any vermin and filth career politician that does not enforce or obey our laws...this is the root cause of why our Republic and Main Street USA is in the worsening condition it is....criminality, incompetence, foolishness and treason.

    October 8, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  18. Chris

    If only they arrested the real criminals such as Obama, Bohner and Biden....

    October 8, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. Gerald

    Well, at least its not about the budget. We need immigration reform soon.

    October 8, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Kudos to these representatives. Of course the GOP traitors are frantically calling up Couch Koch and Rove so they can be told what to do next!

    October 8, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  21. Just Me

    Really, a permit was issued for this but we are closing our national parks, will not care for our war dead? This is silly now and we the people see what is happening, can not wait to vote again.

    October 8, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  22. NorsemanIowa

    Gee they have time to get arrested, but not get the government going again. Seems like they really don't know what they should be doing.

    October 8, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  23. Dennis in Los Angeles

    Disgusting democrats who allow illegal non citizens to use the national Mall but won't allow legal World War II citizen heroes to use the same mall. Absolutely disgusting and I hope their constituents are taking notice.

    October 8, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  24. waitaminute

    There will be no amnesty Progs.

    October 8, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  25. rich

    Lordy they sure are desperate for votes. How about fighting for legal immigration.

    October 8, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
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