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. Gregory

    Life goes on.

    October 8, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  2. As

    I believe MN Democratic Rep Keith Ellison was also arrested at this rally

    October 8, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  3. Tom Toth

    They should e sentenced to community service of helping build a wall on the Mexican border.

    October 8, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  4. Mike Hudson

    Are you kidding me? For the love of all things... GET BACK TO WORK AND FIX THE GOVERNMENT. Get arrested AFTER the shutdown is over. If you've got nothing to do, take up knitting or something.

    October 8, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  5. Kyle G.

    Couple hundred, or even a couple thousand, people protesting for immigration reform...hundreds of millions of others that did not...indicator?

    October 8, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. Constitutional Scholar

    The Constitution specifically prohibits the arrest of members of Congress while Congress is in session.

    October 8, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. Rossbach

    I understand that a number of WWII vets were turned away from visiting monuments on the mall because there is no money for National Park Service staff. However, the government allows illegal aliens to assemble on the mall to support amnesty; and members of congress break the law to support them. I have to wonder what our veterans think about that.

    October 8, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    6 down, 529 to go. I hope there is still room in Guantanamo for them all.

    October 8, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. Frank

    ...so lets be clear , under the man who calls himself Obama permits are available to LAW BREAKING foreigners but not to tax paying citizens of THIS country – its revolution time , King George did far less but that is why we let him live....say your prayers Africans and Latino TERRORISTS you time is UP!

    October 8, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  10. ED1

    Leave them in jail kind of stupid while the Government is in a shutdown mode.

    October 8, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  11. dnokc

    Nice the president saw fit to open the mall for the "undocumented protesters" Jay. Unfortunately he closed it immediately afterward to the people whom pay for it....the tax payers. Speaks volumes!

    October 8, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. DTurner

    I knew it had to be democrats before I even read the article. No respect for the law, no reespect for working people who have to get to their jobs and back home, no respect for people in general and no respect for themselves. Pathetic.

    October 8, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  13. Dan

    How can Carney say the immigration laws are broken? The laws have worked for millions of people who have come to this country. Why do we want people who by their first act in our country is to break the law? (when they're here illegally). Why should we reward them for doing that? Look at the people demanding immigration reform and then look at their reasoning. The reason? Whoever spearheads immigration reform will gain hundreds of thousands of new voters... and guess who they vote for? Say NO to immigration reform, it's only a means of buying votes. I'm all for immigration. It's what makes America strong, but follow the rules.

    October 8, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  14. Robert Bruce

    Charlie Rangel, now you can be sure these are an upstanding bunch

    October 8, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  15. loyalright

    Illegals can enter the mall area but not those that fought for it. Liberals need to be voted out of Washington. The sooner, the better. They are not true Americans.

    October 8, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  16. Jeffrey B

    Fix the broken immigration system? Thats what Jay Carney says? How about enforcing the laws of the land? Oh yeah, White House only preaches that when it comes to Obamacare.

    October 8, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  17. James

    How about any member of Congress who is arrested gets impeached?

    October 8, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  18. Byron Schults

    Is this somehow a part of their "official duties". Pretty odd if you ask me.

    October 8, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  19. Soldier

    Are they going to lose their jobs/political appointment as a Soldier would if they are arrested?

    October 8, 2013 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  20. reply

    “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....”
    Article I, Section 6, Clause 1

    So, all they have to say is they were going to work.

    October 8, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  21. yolanda

    So by not getting themselves arrested for protesting for immigration reform Republicans are accused of "not putting aside politics...." by Jay Carney. This is asinine. Come on everyone on congress. Let's head down to the street and get locked up to protest the laws that we have passed to protect our country. Oh, and if you don't, you're playing politics. ....take another hit and pass the bong Jay.

    October 8, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  22. Brad

    All Democrats should be arrested & tried for treason for being the traitors they are. Anyone who openly supports ILLEGAL ALIENS when our laws clearly state they shouldn't be here is a traitor.

    October 8, 2013 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  23. WVGleeman

    Silly Democrats. Just wait until you are the minority party and hold the country hostage until we get real immigration reform. It's perfectly acceptable tactics that don't get you arrested.

    October 8, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  24. corpsman

    Funny how only dems stand up for anything....

    October 8, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  25. wendel

    ol john has still got it! not a repo in sight as usual.

    October 8, 2013 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
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