Three Democratic congressmen arrested at Trump tower Daca protests

US representatives Raúl Grijalva, Luis Gutiérrez and Adriano Espaillat joined demonstrators in refusing to move from Fifth Avenue in New York…

Three Democratic members of Congress were arrested outside Trump Tower on Tuesday, at a protest against the president’s cancellation of protections for so-called Dreamers, undocumented migrants brought to the US as children.

 

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Representatives Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois and Adriano Espaillat of New York were among a small group of demonstrators who sat down in the street on Fifth Avenue and refused to move.

The Democratic speaker of New York’s city council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, was also handcuffed and led away. An aide to Gutiérrez said there were 10 arrests in total.

In a statement, Gutiérrez said: “We’re taking the necessary steps to make it clear to President Trump, the Republicans and the Democrats that we will continue this peaceful fight for Dreamers and immigrants as long as it takes to enact legislation and put Dreamers in a safe place.”

The protesters were demanding that Congress pass legislation to protect thousands of young immigrants from deportation. Trump announced on 5 September that he would end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), a controversial Obama-era program, in March 2018.

The president made the move in order to forestall a lawsuit from attorneys general opposing the program.

Attorneys general from 15 states and Washington DC subsequently sued the federal government over Trump’s decision, with California pursuing its own suit.

Obama called Trump’s decision “cruel and wrong”. Democratic leaders subsequently indicated that they were close to a deal with Trump to protect from possible deportation the 690,000 people covered by the program.

Organizers of the Tuesday protest had said the lawmakers had planned to get arrested.

“A few congressmen and elected officials gathering in front of Trump Tower doesn’t mean much,” Gutiérrez said, “if it is not backed up by the grassroots and allies, and today we are standing with diverse allies to make sure Congress and the president do more than just talk about solutions: they actually follow through with action.”

Gutiérrez, a 24-year-veteran of Congress from the South Side of Chicago, was arrested in August after a similar protest outside the White House.

Donald Trump delivered an address at the United Nations earlier. He was scheduled to stay at Trump Tower overnight but was not present for the protest.

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