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. Anonymous

    You mean they didn't shoot them too?

    October 9, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  2. Jeff

    Illegal immigrants get to use the National Mall and veterans have to knock down barricades for the same access. Democratic congressman getting arrested protesting with illegal invaders of our country and there is no public scorn for these criminal enablers. What happened to the country that I grew up in? Nice job liberals.

    October 9, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  3. RayJacksonMS

    When are all the republicans going to be arrested for blocking the government?

    October 9, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  4. Goodbye Middle-Class

    America HAS laws – the prez has said he does not believe they need to be followed. The only reason people come to a country which at the time has few jobs available is to partake of the vast network of social services. Services illegals have never paid into.

    THESE are the representatives who think YOU owe illegals all the health care, food, housing, translators by the hour for courts, schools and the list just never stops.

    THESE representatives feel you have too much. Many of the countries people leave have greater resources than our own. Why do they not stay and create societies? Its easier to collect welfare. After the illegals have a path – follow with at least 6 kids and their parents, grandparents – who will qualify for further benefits.

    ILLEGALS are EXEMPT from obamacare INSURANCE requirment – so – basically – obummer care says you and I have to pay for their HEALTHCARE. We dont get healthcare with obummer – we get legally obligated to pay insurance executives. IF you can still come up co-pays and dedutibles – maybe you get some healthcare. The illegals: just free healthcare.

    We dont need reform so much as we need a govt with the balls to represent the people who elected them. Both non-representative parties dems and repubs cater to the hispanic vote and in the process sell out the people who put them in office.

    October 9, 2013 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  5. PharmGrl

    So these members of Congress broken the law while protesting to allow people entry into the US by breaking the law.

    October 9, 2013 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  6. EuphoriCrest

    I guess it was too much to hope for that Boehner and Cruz were not among those arrested.

    October 9, 2013 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  7. Ron

    These men hold the highest positions in the land, They are supposed to lead by example! Since they do not respect our laws or themselves, they need to be terminated from their posts, impeached by their own parties ! Their is no place in our society for members of our government leadership to protest in the streets like common criminals!

    October 9, 2013 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  8. NyteShayde

    Well, your first amendment rights do not extend to blocking public throughways and streets. You get what you ask for.

    October 9, 2013 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  9. Carlos

    What, no GOP were invited to the rally?

    October 9, 2013 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  10. Jerry

    Now, it they would only leave them in jail...

    October 9, 2013 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  11. jerome

    It is time for House Democrats to put politics aside and join Republicans to enforce our immigration laws and make the economy stronger. – John Q. Citizen

    October 9, 2013 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  12. stuart

    What is wrong here. Why didn't the house Republicans create a bill to allow the permit so people can protest. It would be only one more small law to assist a small minority group like paying servicemen, allowing children get medical care while taking away peoples ability to get medical insurance, and families receive an insurance payout upon the death of a serviceman. How about passing a law so I can retire with medical insurance, a home, and unlimited income. These silly exceptions do not resolve the impasse. End this temper tantrum government closure and resolve the debt limit which is your job. If you can't do that resign your position so we can bring in people who will do their job.

    October 9, 2013 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  13. Atinge

    They may have their reasons to protest same as they law had it own to arrest them.let they law take it course on them.let it not be politically rephrased and they too if guilty should be sanctioned according to the law.i wonder why such is coming from US.

    October 9, 2013 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  14. krehator

    Please arrest all of Congress! They are enemies of the people and liberty.

    October 9, 2013 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  15. How does this work?

    They've got guys being paid to barricade national parks, national monuments, and national cemeteries all over the country so that no one can enjoy some of the cheapest things government offers its citizens all for the sake of political posturing....
    but they keep the National Mall open for a pro-liberal, pro-amnesty rally where Democrat Congressmen decided that being arrested protesting was a better option than actually doing the work they're paid to do and fixing the shutdown?!?


    October 9, 2013 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  16. Fed-Up

    It is time to start impeachment proceedings on all members of the Senate that refuse to uphold the Constitution, refusing to enforce the laws of our government that they don't like because they don't want to. Obamacare plus immigration reform is the Democrats plan to stuff the ballot box, steal elections, then steal from every productive member of American society to give the fruits of America's labor to the ungodly, unholy, sinful man and government. To destroy the foundation of America built on universal truths learned from the experiences of religious intolerance, totalitarian dictatorships, and selfishness.

    The Dishonorable Administration of Barack Obama dishonors our Veterans of World War II, Law abiding citizens all across this country, and honors immigrants that illegally enter our Country, demanding that we change our immigration laws. And where in the United States Constitution do Senators represent immigrants? Wait, the Constitution is a living, breathing document, whose meaning changes as needed.

    The lying mouth piece of the Administration, Jay "The Mouth" Carney. Yes, Mr. President, I will lie about Benghazi. Yes, Mr. President, I will lie about job creation in America. Yes, Mr. President, I will blame the results of your policies on the Tea Party. Yes, Mr. President, I will blame every gun crime I can reasonably lie about on the Tea Party, and then I will press that they have their second amendment right to bear arms taken away.

    October 9, 2013 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  17. Hemster

    Again, the American people will speak. Amnesty is NOT reform, and never will be.

    October 9, 2013 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  18. Danram

    I find it interesting that the current administration, while supporting the rights of immigrant activists to protest on the National Mall, at the same time deliberately and needlessly denied native American citizens, including the very veterans who fought to protect those rights, the right to visit our national monuments on that very same ground.

    October 9, 2013 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  19. dan

    is it me or does that look like the arrest was staged? i never seen police pose for a picture after arresting someone. they posed like this picture will be later used for some statement...

    October 9, 2013 04:46 am at 4:46 am |
  20. Red Foreman

    Obama can kick elderly people out of their home and blame it on the shutdown, and the republicans, then make sure the same national park service issues a permit to protesters who favor Obama's immigration veiws. Obama is punishing the people because he can't get his way. Very cheap shot.

    October 9, 2013 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  21. taxweary

    The National mall was shutdown to all Americans due to the shutdown ,but dems thought it was O.K for the illegals to use it!Is their any sane or honest politicians in Washington anymore?Politicians from both parties have made this mess but its just the American people that are the only ones who suffer!We should march on Washington in a peaceful rally to show our numbers and sincerity!

    October 9, 2013 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  22. Crissie

    So our lawmakers Reps. John Lewis, Charlie Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutierrez, Al Green and Joseph Crowley all were arrested, and charged. Gee I wonder if they will actually have to face the real consequences of their actions, or will they actually get out of it? I don't care that they were protesting with protesters about immigration or not. The fact is we have a Congress that will not pass a budget, will not raise the debt ceiling, they have caused our government to shutdown, now they are getting arrested. We need these lawmakers, pay for their crimes of law breaking!! If we break the law we get arrested, if we do not show up to court we go to jail. They should be treated the same way!! I think we the American People need to add a law to our politicians that says if they break the law and are arrested they automatically lose their seats in the Capitol, permanently, and they will be barred from Congress or any other government job for life!! We can not have lawmakers breaking the law, what kind of message is that to send!!!

    October 9, 2013 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  23. Anonymous

    What we need is immigration enforcement, not reform. Always interesting to see which of our laws are enforced and which are ignored. Currently there is no mechanism to arrest those breaking an important law by being in our country illegally. After a warning, we should use our military to extract the invaders, deport them, and give them no chance of ever become a US citizen. A straightforward approach.

    October 9, 2013 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  24. Brad Miller

    Rally for immigration on the Mall, despite the shutdown and claiming 1st amendment rights. I thought the 1st amendment only applies to American citizens .If you are an illegal it's Ok to protest. If you are a citizen you get barrycades. That's a slap in the face to all vets. It's nice to see Charlie Rangel in handcuffs, being arrested.

    October 9, 2013 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  25. Bostondan

    Grandstanding again by the low lifes of Congress. Hopefully they'll stay in jail for awhile. Apparently you CAN use federal property during the slimdown if the cause is politically correct enough.

    October 9, 2013 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
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