Bryce and Myers Arrested Along With Rep. Zamarripa and Sup. West DACA Protest

Racine – Hundreds of Wisconsin high school students walked out of class and 23 people were arrested in an act of civil disobedience at US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s Racine office, as part of a national day of action demanding Congress pass the clean Dream Act.

The students from Riverside, South Division and Reagan high schools in Milwaukee left classes and held rallies outside the schools before boarding buses for Racine and another rally near Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s office.

Congressional candidates Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers challenging to unseat House Speaker Paul Ryan  were arrested this week during a Racine rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which prompted officials to close the speaker’s district office. Also arrested were State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa and Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West.   

A police sergeant said everyone arrested received a citation and was released.

The students gathered in Racine before marching on Speaker Ryan’s office. At Ryan’s office, hundreds of community members joined the students for an afteroon rally, during which 23 people were arrested while peacefully blocking a busy intersection in an act of civil disobedience to urge Speaker Ryan to act to protect immigrant youth.

“We walked out of our schools today because Speaker Ryan has the power to move the Dream Act to a vote, but he has chosen not to,” said Yesica Ramirez, 17, a junior at Horlick High School in Racine. “Insead, he is supporting the most anti-immigrant bill proposed, the Goodlatte bill. By supporting the Goodlatte bill, Speaker Ryan has become anti-immigrant, and that is unacceptable. We are fighting for the Dream Act because we need a permanent solution, and permanent status, in the only country we know as home.”

This week DACA permits were to begin permanently expiring, but the presidential order has been delayed in court and federal judges have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to continue renewing all existing DACA permits.

A Ryan spokesman released the following statement:

“The speaker appreciates those making their voices heard today. While court decisions have pushed the deadline on this issue until much later in the year, the speaker remains committed to finding a permanent solution for the DACA population. He continues to work with his colleagues to reach consensus on a plan that protects these young people while also strengthening border security and better enforcing our immigration laws.”

“We cannot be silent on DACA,” said State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, one of the 23 who was arrested. “We will march. We will call. We will email & tweet. We will sit in nonviolent protest. And we will vote. You’re either on the side of humanity or against it.”

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