Rep. Gutiérrez, Others Arrested Outside White House In Rally To Protect DACA

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) was arrested Tuesday during a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the first applications for which were sent five years ago.

In a phone call with TPM, Gutiérrez’s communications director, Douglas Rivlin, confirmed the arrest and said the congressman had joined the demonstration — which developed into a sit-in on the sidewalk just outside the White House — in an attempt to bring attention to the program and to temporary protected status (TPS), another protection from deportation granted to some undocumented people.

Video on Gutiérrez’s Facebook page shows individuals at the sit-in being arrested one-by-one.

The immigrant advocacy group United We Dream also recorded the arrest:

Texas’ attorney general has threatened to sue the Trump administration if the President does not rescind DACA, which extended protection from deportation and other legal benefits like work permits and drivers licenses to hundreds of thousands of young people. He and allied attorneys general have given Trump until Sept. 5 to eliminate the program, or else face a lawsuit.

Though Trump has said DACA recipients should “rest easy,” he has failed to commit fully to protecting the program, leading some to worry that the program’s vast stores of data on undocumented people could be used to target them for deportation.

“As we know, this is a President that doesn’t like to upset the far right wing, or the alt-right element of his base, so he’s not likely to put up much of a fight,” Rivlin said Tuesday. “And we’re worried that DACA is going to end in the next few weeks.”

He noted others he saw being arrested at the sidewalk outside the White House: former NAACP President Ben Jealous and Gustavo Torres, executive director of the immigrant advocacy group CASA.

CASA retweeted a report that 25 people had been arrested:

“They were all citizens, and they were there getting arrested symbolically for DACA recipients,” Rivlin said. “There were no DACA recipients in the group, or TPS holders in the group. But the message was: We’re getting arrested on behalf of your families. We’re making our point. We’re standing up and we’re sitting in, for TPS and for DACA.”