Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 8.01.03 AMHouse Democrats were arrested Tuesday for marching for immigration reform on Capitol Hill in a rally organized by a coalition of immigrant rights groups and labor unions.
The arrested congress members, who were led away in zip-tie handcuffs to protestor cheers, included Representatives Charles Rangel and Joseph Crowley of New York City, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago, Ill., Rep. Keith Ellison of Detroit, Mich., Rep. Al Green of Houston, TX, and Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.
The elected officials were arrested by Capitol Police and charged with “crowding, obstructing, and incommoding” after they reportedly joined other protestors to block First Street near the Capitol, CBS News reported. According to a congressional aide, the lawmaker’s actions at the Camino Americano Rally for Immigrant Dignity and Respect will likely result in an Ethics Committee report. Each of the congress members will likely have to post a $50 fine as well, the National Journal reported.
The protest, which garnered thousands of supporters, was reportedly aimed at getting Congressional Republicans to act on a plan proposed by House Democrats to give the estimated 11 million immigrants illegally living in the U.S. a path to citizenship.
The rally was held at the National Mall, which remains closed due to the government shutdown.
The protest was given the green light by the Park Service, reportedly on the grounds of the First Amendment, according to rally organizers, USA Today reported.
The decision to allow immigration advocates to occupy the National Mall comes just one week after World War II veterans struggled to gain access to their memorial at the National Mall and were subsequently denied as a result of the shutdown.
“It’s bad enough watching these marches when we watch illegal aliens breaking our laws. Now they’re being given free range on these public parks while we’ve seen the greatest generation military vets being turned away from their sacred memorials,” Bob Dane, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told USA Today.
“It’s offensive and it shows where their loyalties lie,” Dane added, whose organization is opposed to legalizing the nation’s undocumented immigrants.