WASHINGTON — Several members of Congress plus about 200 labor leaders and immigration advocates were arrested Tuesday outside the Capitol in a protest calling for the House to take up immigration reform, which stalled after passing the Senate.
Demonstrators marched to the Capitol after a rally and concert on the National Mall. Many stood or sat in the street in what organizers called a campaign of civil disobedience.
Democratic Reps. Charles B. Rangel and Joseph Crowley of New York, Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona and Luis V. Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois were among the first to be loaded into police vans. U.S. Capitol Police said they would be charged with “crowding, obstructing and incommoding,” which is a misdemeanor. “My colleagues and I are not afraid to get arrested for what we believe is important to move America forward,” Rangel said in a video posted to his Twitter account.
Maria Elena Durazo, head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, also was arrested. “We strongly believe we could get the majority between Democrats and some Republicans to pass immigration reform,” she said beforehand.
The National Mall was technically closed along with other sites managed by the National Park Service because of the partial government shutdown. Organizers were allowed to hold the rally, named Camino Americano, on First Amendment grounds. The same exception was granted to veterans visiting the National World War II Memorial, also on the Mall, last week.