Democratic members of Congress were among some 200 people who were arrested in front of the U.S. Capitol during a demonstration pushing for immigration reform Tuesday
Eight representatives joined arms with protesters, blocking traffic across Independence Avenue during rush hour and refuse to disperse, Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider confirmed.
Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., John Lewis, D-Ga., Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., Al Green, D-Texas, Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., Jan Schawkowsky, D-Ill. and Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., along with around 200 more people, will be charged with "crowding, obstructing, and incommoding" under D.C. Code 22-1307.
The protest, which was organized by a group called Camino Americano, hoped to put pressure on Congress to move towards opening a path to citizenship for immigrants without legal status. While the National Mall, where the demonstration took place, is technically closed for a shutdown, the National Parks Service allowed it under the First Amendment.
The White House issued a statement of support for the protesters and their cause Tuesday afternoon.
"The enthusiastic demonstration of support for immigration reform this week has proven to Congress that the broad coalition behind commonsense solutions to our nation’s broken immigration laws is as strong as it has ever been," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. "It is time for House Republicans to put politics aside and join Democrats to fix our broken immigration system and make the economy stronger."
Reps Green, Crowley, Lewis, Schkowsky, Grijalva, Ellison, Gutierrez, and me -- about to get arrested. https://t.co/o8a8F4WfMc— Charles Rangel (@cbrangel) October 8, 2013