Rep. Luis Gutierrez Arrested At The White House Tuesday During Pro-Immigration Protest [Updated]
By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 15, 2017 9:20PM
Getty Images / Photo: John Moore
Update, 5 p.m.:
Gutierrez and the other protesters were processed and released after about two hours in custody and given $50 fines, according to the representative's office. Upon his release, Gutierrez blasted President Donald Trump, referencing the president's much-derided Charlottesville comments and urging DACA protection:
"While the President is coddling racist white supremacists because he is afraid to lose their votes, we took a stand today for justice. There is no doubt the American people stand with the young people who face deportation if Republicans kill DACA or fail to defend it in court. The people with DACA are 800,000 young men and women who are now doctors and lawyers and raising their own families. They are not criminals, they are assets to the United States and should not be driven out or driven underground. Another 300,000 or so people have been living and working here legally with TPS for decades and it now appears the President is actually contemplating making over 1 million documented immigrants into undocumented immigrants."
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) was arrested along with more than two dozen demonstrators as the group rallied on the White House sidewalk to urge for the protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). DACA celebrated its fifth anniversary today even as it faces a likely existential legal challenge.
Protesters rallied outside the White House on Tuesday afternoon, chanting "Si Se Puede!," after gathering in Lafayette Park, in Washington D.C. Gutierrez staged the protest in partnership with United We Dream and Casa of Maryland.
Gutierrez was arrested with about 30 other demonstrators, according to The Hill. He was reportedly taken into custody by U.S. Park Police. The representative was still in custody as of early afternoon, according to a tweet sent from his account at around 3 p.m.
Cong Luis V. Gutierrez is still in US Park Police custody after being arrested at #DefendDACA & TPS rally outside White House.— Luis V. Gutierrez (@RepGutierrez) August 15, 2017
Gutierrez is one of the leading pro-immigration voices in the legislature and vehement critic of Trump's immigration policies and rhetoric. He was handcuffed by police in March in Chicago after he and other activists refused to leave the Chicago headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after they were unhappy with a meeting held with a top regional official of the department.
Other #DefendDACA protests and press conferences took place in cities around the country, including one in Chicago, outside the local ICE field office. A group of officials led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has threatened a legal challenge to DACA if the administration doesn't end the program by September 5. It's not clear if the Trump administration would defend it, though Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been critical of the policy in the past.
In a video released ahead of Tuesday's protest, Gutierrez said the immigrant community is "under attack." "This administration wants to hurt our immigrant community. They want to eliminate DACA, 800,000 young people strong," he said. "They want to eliminate temporary protective status of hundreds of thousands of immigrants from all over the world... We can stay home or we can rise up."