October 8th, 2013
06:46 PM ET
9 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. Joe

    Apparently when it comes to WW II Vets trying to visit their memorial the President sends goons with barricades, but when it comes to a concert and protest for illegal immigrants the President gives his blessing. Pathetic!!!

    October 9, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  2. athiestone

    Rep John Lewis still at it so many years later! Makes me proud to be a progressive Democrat – unlike the jellyfish in the WH.

    October 9, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  3. G Baker

    Any elected official who is arrested for participating in this type of demonstration, is thumbing his nose at the law, and should be dismissed from his job. The negative example being set does more harm than any good they think they are doing.

    October 9, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  4. kirk

    Spare me the theatrics please, just shut up and let things speak for themselves.

    October 9, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  5. Steve

    Might as well organize a protest in D.C., nothing else is going on there.

    October 9, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  6. Dennis

    Why do so many people believe that the rally was by people who were not here legally? So far, I have only heard confirmed reports of citizens protesting. Is it so hard to believe that citizens who came from other countries want to fight for reform? The system is so broken now, people who are approved for a green card wait ten years to get it. That's stupidly broken!

    October 9, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  7. Data Driven


    "Why do so many people believe that the rally was by people who were not here legally?"

    Because conservatives who post here are, for the most part, not very intelligent.

    October 9, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    Joe, I'm not sure I understand you. Where in this article does it say the Congresspeople were sent by President Obama??

    October 9, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. Wake up People!


    The POTUS is no jellyfish.
    Also where does it say anything about illegal immigrants? Sounds to me like they were all citizens.

    People have such a predisposition to hate, they can't even read the words in front of their faces.
    Remember, unless you are 100% Native American, your ancestors were immigrants also and were welcomed into this country, unless yours are like mine and were kidnapped from their homeland, beaten and forced to serve others who deemed themselves superior. That was one boat trip we won't soon forget.

    October 9, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
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