Eight members of US Congress from the Democratic Party were arrested in a display of civil disobedience during a rally in Washington DC designed to call for immigration reform in order to legalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants, including 30,000 Indians, which are living in the United States.
“I’ve been arrested a few times and I don’t mind getting arrested again for something that is right and fair and just,” says John Lewis, the member of the House of Representatives who is also an icon for civil rights because of his speech 50 years ago during the March on Washington. Lewis was arrested alongside fellow Democrat Charlie Rangel from New York as well as Joe Crowley, Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez from Illinois, Al Green from Texas, Keith Ellison from Minnesota, and Raul Grijalva from Arizona.
Thousands of immigration activists – from adults cheering and waving signs proclaiming “No Human is Illegal” to young children wearing T-shirts that read “Don’t Deport My Dad” – gathered on the national mall in order to participate in the rally. Four House Republicans and over a dozen Democrats came before the crowd to urge the House of Representatives to pass a reform bill, the issue having come to a standstill in the midst of a bipartisan showdown in regards to fiscal policy.
The White House has applauded the demonstrators’ efforts in a statement released on Tuesday night and demanded that Republicans in the House pass immigration reform and “put politics aside.”