The House Democrats arrested by the Capitol Police for blocking a street near the Capitol included at least eight members of Congress. They are being charged with “crowding, obstructing and incommoding.” “Several members of Congress were arrested after participating in an immigration ‘sit-in’ on Capitol Hill demanding that House Republicans act to pass immigration reform,” reported CBS on Oct. 8, 2013.
The House Democrats that were arrested while participating in the immigration “sit-it” included “Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Keith Ellison, D-Minn.;. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.; and Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.,” according to the CBS report.
On Tuesday afternoon, the House Democrats participated in the Camino Americano Rally for Immigrant Dignity and Respect in the hope of pushing Republicans to hold a vote on a stalled immigration reform bill. The rally followed a performance by six-time Grammy winners Los Tigres del Norte at the National Mall during which a Mexican band dedicated each song to the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.
While the Senate has passed a bill that includes tighter border security, House Democrats are hoping to push forward the stalled immigration reform bill that would allow citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
According to the Capitol Police, the arrests of the eight House Democrats along with the arrest of 200 other people began when the rally participants blocked a main street near the Capitol about 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. The arrests continued for the next two hours. Under the local laws of the District of Columbia, the charges against those arrested include “crowding, obstructing and incommoding.”
According to a Washington Post report, before being arrested, Gutiérrez said he planned the act of civil disobedience “so the speaker of the House can free Congress and finally pass immigration reform.”
In response to the arrest of the House Democrats and the demonstration for the support of the immigration bill, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement.
“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. It’s time for the House of Representatives to reopen the government, pay their bills and get back to the important work of moving the economy forward.”