3 Democratic Congressmen Arrested At Trump Tower DREAM Act Demonstration

NYC Council/YouTube

Three Democratic congressmen were arrested Tuesday in front of Trump Tower during a rally in support of what activists have called a “clean” DREAM Act. 

“We’re taking the necessary steps to make it clear to President Trump, the Republicans and the Democrats that we will continue this peaceful fight for DREAMers and immigrants as long as it takes to enact legislation and put DREAMers in a safe place,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) said in a statement provided to TPM by his office.

He added: “A few Congressmen and elected-officials gathering in front of Trump Tower doesn’t mean much if it is not backed up by the grassroots and allies and today we are standing with diverse allies to make sure Congress and the President do more than just talk about solutions, they actually follow through with action.”

The offices of Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), as well as New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, also confirmed their arrests. Mark-Viverito’s office shared a video of her arrest.

Espaillat’s director of communications, Candace Randle Person, said in a statement that the congressman “stood up for immigrant youth to say loud and clear – unequivocally, that he dedicates his work in Congress to protecting immigrants, immigrant families, and their future in America.”

According to a press release from Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy organization, the rally was called to advocate for a “a clean DREAM Act that includes a path to citizenship for immigrant youth, without additional funding for the insecurity that Trump’s immigration agencies are creating at the border.”

Young undocumented activists who disrupted an event held by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Tuesday similarly demanded a “clean” DREAM Act. “All of us or none of us,” they chanted.

President Donald Trump eliminated DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, earlier this month. The program protected certain undocumented young people from deportation and granted them work permits. The first permits under that program are set to expire in less than six months. 

The DREAM Act, first introduced in the Senate in 2001, has never achieved enough Congressional support to reach the President’s desk. But activists and congressional Democrats hope that Trump’s elimination of DACA and his insistence that Congress “legalize” its protections will pave the way for the legislation, which would provide a path to legal status for certain undocumented young people.

Still, congressional Republicans have said they would demand additional border security measures and other concessions in exchange for any post-DACA deal. After meeting with Trump last week, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said they had agreed to pursue a deal to protect former DACA recipients that included additional border security measures.

Gutiérrez was arrested in front of the White House last month as well, at a rally supporting DACA three weeks before Trump announced he was eliminating the program.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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