145 people were arrested last week when protesters converged on the White House to demand that President Obama uses his executive authority to give relief to immigrant families and put an end to deportations. Almost 2,000 immigration activists organized by Casa de Virginia and Casa de Maryland marched on a peaceful protest from the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the White House.
When protesters blocked the sidewalk and disobeyed instructions from the police to move, they were placed under arrest and later charged with civil disobedience. The demonstration ‒ Fight for Families ‒ forcibly denounced the current government policy of deporting undocumented immigrants, particularly in cases where parents are separated from their children as a result.
Protesters wore T-shirts bearing the words ‘Keep Families Together’ and wrapped themselves in the American flag. The demonstration even spread to the social media site Twitter, where the hashtag #FightforFamilies was used by activists to spread the word. It is not known whether undocumented immigrants were among those arrested and the immigration status of those taken into custody will not be checked by the police; however, the organizers did inform the protesters about the risks involved should their legal status be in question.
Among those arrested was Anna Sol Gutierrez, a Maryland state delegate.
Last Thursday, President Obama reiterated his intention to take executive action to enact immigration reform without going through Congress.