Rep. Luis Gutierrez was arrested Tuesday by U.S. Park Police while advocating for immigration reform during a demonstration in front of the White House.
It wasn’t the first time the Illinois Democrat has been arrested during a protest. According to Press Secretary Douglas Rivlin, Gutierrez was also arrested in 2010 and 2001. “The Congressman has used acts of civil disobedience, including arrest, in the past,” Rivlin said.
Gutierrez and 10 others were arrested Tuesday when they failed to remain in motion while demonstrating and failed to comply with three separate warnings issued by officers, according to Park Police spokesman David Schlosser.
The demonstration was organized by Casa de Maryland, a community organization dedicated to fighting for equality for low-income Latinos. In a news release issued by Casa de Maryland, Gutierrez said, “The President says Republicans are blocking immigration reform and he’s right, but it doesn’t get him off the hook.”
Rivlin said: “The issue has been that the president feels that his hands are tied when it comes to deportation. A lot of people disagree with him.”
Gutierrez and others want President Barack Obama to use his executive authority to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants, particularly those who could be affected by a bill known as the DREAM Act. That bill would grant legal status to some undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children and who attend college or serve in the military.
Obama said during a speech at the National Council of La Raza’s conference on Monday that he does not have such power. Following the appearance, Gutierrez issued a statement asking whether Obama “will exercise the powers he has under current law to give DREAM Act students and other immigrants relief from deportation when it is in the national interest of the United States.”
His statement concluded, “It is simply not the case that the President’s hands are tied when it comes to enforcement and people, like those in the audience, know it.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.