The thirty DREAMers who stormed Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) D.C. office Thursday didn’t get any face time with the conservative immigration hawk, but they stood in his office for about 40 minutes before they were escorted out by Capitol Hill police, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and telling their stories as two female staffers demanded they leave.
“We wanted to show him that we wanted to be American citizens,” Julieta Garibay, legislative affairs associate for United We Dream, the group that organized the event, told TPM in a phone interview. “We wanted to make sure he knew we were watching him and that we were angry about his actions.”Hundreds of DREAMers, people who were brought into the U.S. as children, are gathering on Capitol Hill over the next few weeks to confront politicians and make sure the proposed immigration reform bill does not get watered down–specifically a provision that would allow families separated by deportation to be reunited.
King was one of their big targets. He proposed an amendment that passed the House last week aiming to reverse President Barack Obama’s order allowing Homeland Security officials to delay deportations of young undocumented immigrants.
Although the protesters say King was not present at the time, he immediately tweeted that “20 brazen self professed illegal aliens have just invaded my DC office. Obama’s lawless order gives them de facto immunity from U.S. law.”
King’s staffers, according to Garibay, also refused to speak with them and only insisted they leave, saying “this is a place of business.” At one point, a staffer pulled out a video camera to tape the event, which Garibay, who was also present, assumed was an attempt to intimidate the undocumented immigrants by getting their faces on tape.
The DREAMers’ response: “Immigration is our business,” Garibay said. “We have lost our fear.”
Update: Rep. King’s communication director, Brittany Lesser, has since responded to request for comment and said that the office was not the party that called the police and the staffers simply told the DREAMers to make an appointment as all visitors are required to do. Lesser added that the staffers listened to their stories and filmed the scene out of interest.
Perry is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in Washington D.C. Prior to TPM, she was a reporter-research at The New Republic and worked for her hometown paper, The Miami Herald. Perry can be reached at email@example.com.