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Federal judge blocks AZ law that 'disenfranchised' Native voters; government shutdown could cost U.S. travel economy about $1 Billion per week; WA group brings 'Alternatives to Violence' to secondary students.

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Senator Robert Menendez offers explanations on the money found in his home, non-partisan groups urge Congress to avert a government shutdown and a Nevada organization works to build Latino political engagement.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

"We're Not Going Anywhere" Immigration Activists Occupy Congress

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Thursday, February 12, 2015   

WASHINGTON - Calling the nation's broken immigration system a "moral crisis," activists Wednesday occupied scores of congressional offices - including the office of Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-McLean).

A press release from one of the many groups taking part said it was targeting 35 "hard-line" Republican representatives and senators.

Julie Karant with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was with a group occupying Comstock's office. She spoke by cell phone as a migrant from El Salvador sang a psalm about justice for the poor in the background.

"Hundreds of people are flooding through Capitol Hill offices right now as we speak. They can no longer ignore it," she says. "It's hurting our economy and it's tearing hard-working families apart."

Congress has been unable to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and so-called hardliners within the GOP are now threatening to block funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over a presidential executive order. That order would remove the threat of deportation for many otherwise law-abiding migrants who are living in the U.S. without permission.

Some immigration activists say the opposition to President Obama's deportation rollback is rooted, in part, in resentment. Jaime Contreras with the SEIU says their local 32BJ chose to target Comstock, and Maryland Congressman Andy Harris, because of the way they have attacked migrants.

"They have been outspoken attacking the immigrant community," he says. "We have a moral crisis on our hands that Congresswoman Comstock and Congressman Andy Harris can no longer ignore: the broken immigration system."

Contreras says the idea of refusing to fund the DHS is profoundly wrong.

"We're outraged they're trying to undo this executive order by not passing a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security," he says. "It's just un-American."

Opponents of immigration reform say amnesty would reward people who break the law. Some of the protest leaders were arrested by Capitol police, but most of the protestors were removed without incident.


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