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. TJ

    More Democratic propaganda in support of another social re-engineering project.

    October 9, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  2. Sam

    awesome...so you want the republicams to toe the line on what you want while some of your members decide they want to break the law....got it.

    October 9, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  3. douglas

    Open the park mall for this "protest"; but, no money for fallen soldiers & Marines next-of-kin. This is NOT the country I fought for in Viet Nam. PS: I am for immigration reform, as the immigrants will make better citizens, than the warped idiots in Washington DC.

    October 9, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  4. Michael

    Ah, shades of Vietnam or Civil Rights ... without the billy clubs and water cannons. Instead of shutting down the government, these Congress members decide to demonstrate. I can't wait to see how THIS fight works out. Will the GOP/TP shutdown the government again if some intelligent and sensible form of Immigration Reform is passed?

    October 9, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  5. Freedom

    King Obama closed all National Parks and lands. They were trespassing on the king's property so they got arrested. What a disgrace the Obama Administration has become. I regret voting for him the first time.

    October 9, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  6. jtj33

    Support for illegals but won't pay military death benefits. Disgusting.

    October 9, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  7. Freddo

    The Congressmen involved were doing what they do "best" – blocking progress and being a general PITA.

    Time to change the laws so that if there isn't a budget, none of them can leave the Capitol building. Lock 'em up and throw away the key. Oh yeah, and no food until a compromise is reached.

    October 9, 2013 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  8. ThisnThat

    What? Democrats were rallying to try to change the immigration laws? I thought that was illegal. Didn't Obama himself say "We can't change the laws. Just like obamacare, it's the law of the land, and if anyone wants to change the law, I will go so far as to shut down the government!"

    We will not negotiate - unless, of course, DEMOCRATS want to change the law, then it's ok. BUT REPUBLICANS CAN'T CHANGE THE LAW. That's unlawfull.

    October 9, 2013 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  9. Harry Richards

    Wasn't the National Mall closed to US citizens? Weren't US war veterans turned away from the memorials?

    Then why was a mob of undocumented immigrants allowed in the National Mall?
    Why were several thousands of dollars spent to accommodate a protest for undocumented immigrants?

    Obama = If you are in the country illegally, prepare to get rewarded. If you are a US citizen, enjoy the short-end-of-the-stick

    October 9, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  10. J Russ

    So those who wish to become citizens demonstrate that by breaking the law? And those who have pledged to uphold the law join with them?

    October 9, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  11. Name

    Time to fire all of them lets start a new government that will help the people that pays there salaries

    October 9, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  12. undocumented_Carlos

    I went there to see what I could get for free but when I saw the cops I left

    October 9, 2013 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  13. Dan

    I wish they would work that hard for the people who put them into office

    October 9, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  14. 94M

    Shouldn’t these officials be focusing on the current crisis instead of getting distracted by immigration reform right now?

    October 9, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  15. Maobama

    That dirt bag Charlie Rangel should have been in handcuffs long before this.

    October 9, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  16. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP garbage of America party has accomplished nothing for at least five years so why would they start now???????? Kick the GOP teaparty trash to the curb in 2014 midterm elections across the country and get things moving again . The GOP is to incompetent and disorganized to govern and prove it every day!!!!!!!

    October 9, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  17. Clarke

    So who got the permit? I don't pay for any member of congress to protest. That is just wrong on so many levels.

    October 9, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  18. Whatup

    They weren't arrested. There was no rally because the National Mall is closed due to the shutdown. So there was no rally or march, right?

    October 9, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  19. M. York

    I'm glad to know that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (and the White House, since he speaks on their behalf) support illegal activity.

    October 9, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  20. news

    good to know that these people are not gods and can be held accountable for their actions. if only it were the gop that was arrested.

    October 9, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  21. Josh

    Really? These guys didn't have any work to do? I hope they are donating their paychecks to something.

    October 9, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  22. Data Driven

    '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."

    Conservatives need to get a life. Memorials were already opened up for veterans.

    Have a Kleenex, conservatives.

    October 9, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  23. Badly-Bent

    Just as soon as this crop of illegals become eligible for labor protections, demand for cheap, exploitable labor will begin (again!)

    October 9, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  24. Chase Freeley

    I'm sorry but if their are veterans who can't get into their memorial without putting up a fight, why are congressman helping illegal immigrants storm the national mall? Are citizens now less important than people here illegally? Not only that, these Congressman were willing to get arrested for it. Just like their hippie pastimes, these Congressman are fighting for all the wrong things. What about the hardworking American who wanted to honor his fathers service? He got stopped at the gates, and had to bust through a small gateway to get to his site. Yet the illegal immigrants get no blockade? In fact, the Congressman even thanked the Obama administration for all of the help. What is this country coming too?

    October 9, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  25. Joe

    Shame that it seems that when it comes to WW II Vets trying to visit their memorial the President will send goons to put up barricades, but when it comes to a concert and protest for illegal immigrants the President will give his blessing. PATHETIC!!!

    Maybe if the Democrats focused more on their legal constituents instead of illegal immigrants we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place...

    October 9, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
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