3 Congressmen among those arrested during DACA protest
The US police have arrested three Democratic members of Congress outside Trump Tower during a protest against the administration’s decision to scrap an amnesty program for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
Representatives Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois and Adriano Espaillat of New York were among a group of protesters who staged a sit-in on Fifth Avenue and refused to move.
“We’re taking the necessary steps to make it clear to President Trump, the Republicans and the Democrats that we will continue this peaceful fight for Dreamers and immigrants as long as it takes to enact legislation and put Dreamers in a safe place,” Gutiérrez said in a statement.
Organizers of the protest said the lawmakers had planned to get arrested in order to send a message to the White House and Congress.
“A few Congressmen and elected officials gathering in front of Trump Tower doesn’t mean much,” Gutiérrez said, “if it is not backed up by the grassroots and allies, and today we are standing with diverse allies to make sure Congress and the president do more than just talk about solutions, they actually follow through with action.”
At least seven others were arrested, including Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Democratic speaker of New York’s city council.
The protesters carried signs with slogans that read “Stop ICE raids,” referring to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and “Resistencia,” which is Spanish for resistance.
They were also demanding that Congress pass legislation to protect thousands of young immigrants, also colloquially known as “Dreamers,” from deportation.
Early this month, President Donald Trump announced that he would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The president gave Congress a six-month deadline to come up with a permanent fix for those affected.
The program, which began under former President Barack Obama, covers about 800,000 young immigrants, giving them temporary protection against deportation and allowing them to work legally in the US.
Democrats favor granting legal residence or citizenship to the DACA recipients. Republicans, on the other hand, broadly advocate for more stringent restrictions on immigration.