Prominent Democrats were arrested outside the White House on Tuesday as part of rallies to support the Obama-era deportation amnesty for Dreamers.
Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, and Ben Jealous, a Democrat running to be Maryland governor, were among 25 protesters arrested in front of the White House, as part of a rally organizers said drew 2,000 people.
They were demanding President Trump back the 2012 temporary deportation amnesty, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that’s currently protecting nearly 800,000 young adult illegal immigrants from being targets for deportation.
“Millions of immigrants leave for work or school each day unsure whether they will be arrested and detained,” Mr. Gutierrez said. “I gave up a few hours of my freedom to stand up for them.”
He said to expect “an escalation of non-violent protest” if Mr. Trump doesn’t continue DACA.
— United We Dream (@UNITEDWEDREAM) August 15, 2017
Tuesday marked the fifth anniversary of the day DACA went into effect.
The program now faces a severe legal test, with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton saying he will expand an existing lawsuit to challenge DACA unless Mr. Trump agrees to phase the program out.
The president has said he will decide personally how to handle the program.
The activists were also demanding that Mr. Trump continue to offer tentative legal status for hundreds of thousands of visitors from Latin American countries who are in the U.S. under temporary protected status and, under the law, are eventually supposed to go home.
Yet some of those with temporary protected status have been here under protections for nearly two decades, and activists said it was cruel to try to make them leave.
Former Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, who is now Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, has said the temporary status must be enforced. But he’s also said Congress could come up with a reprieve for those longtime TPS recipients, giving them a more permanent status.
The White House protest was part of a series of marches and events in dozens of cities across the country.
“We are showing that we will get arrested today so that we can raise awareness and allow every single one of our DACA youths and TPS recipients to freely work and pursue their dreams,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, a Maryland-based group that helped organize Tuesday’s protest.
The protesters were handcuffed, taking to a holding facility, processed and released after paying a $50 fine.
Mr. Gutierrez was also arrested for protesting outside the White House when President Obama was the occupant.
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