Immigration is a highly contentious issue in South Carolina and the rest of the United States right now, with lawmakers speaking out on all sides of the issue. But one representative took demonstrating his beliefs to the next level by protesting deportation in front of the White House yesterday, and ended up arrested.
Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois was arrested in front of the White House yesterday afternoon with about a dozen other protesters who gathered to protest in an area where people are required to keep moving.
The congressman was fined $100 and released from jail in time to return to the floor of the House of Representatives to participate in the final vote of the day. The executive director of the Center for Community Change and the head of CASA de Maryland were two other prominent people arrested during the protest.
Gutierrez, a long-time member of the United States House of Representatives, has an extensive history of working on immigration issues, and has taken an active role in pushing the DREAM Act in Congress. The DREAM Act aims to give people, particularly young adults, the opportunity to become citizens after living in the country for most of their lives.
The protesters formed outside of the White House in effort to call attention to the fact that more people have been deported under the current administration that any other in the past. The Obama Administration publicly supports the DREAM Act, but says that the deportations are legitimate under current law.
"The President says Republicans are blocking immigration reform and he's right, but it doesn't get him off the hook. Everyone knows he has the power to stop deporting DREAMers and others with deep roots in the U.S. and we think he should use it," the congressman said in a statement.
This was not the first time the congressman has been arrested for protesting immigration issues. In 2010, he was arrested at the White House for participating in another immigration protest.
Source: Reuters, "Illinois Congressman arrested in front of White House," 7/27/2011.