"We're Not Going Anywhere" Immigration Activists Occupy Congress
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.
get more stories like this via email
Programs intended to reduce the chances that someone will end up back behind bars are working, according to a new analysis of California state data…
Arizona is gearing up for its presidential preference election that takes place in less than a month, and registered Democrats and Republicans were …
You might say "every day is 'bring your child to college day'" at New Hampshire's Manchester Community College. On-campus childcare programs are …
By Elizabeth Ouzts for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Shanteya Hudson for North Carolina News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism…
The number of Black mothers in Ohio who die during or following pregnancy continues to climb and health advocates said they hope to shine a light on t…
It's been an uphill battle for childhood nutrition advocates to advance meal access policies in the South Dakota Legislature. However, organizers say …
A cooperative effort has seeded more than 26,000 acres in eastern Nevada. It's all in an effort to increase desirable grasses, forbs and shrubs while …
Texas postal customers, especially in rural areas, are experiencing delays in mail delivery, and some letter carriers feel it could get worse…