Young immigration activists leave Cantor's office after arrest warning

A group of children protesting House Republicans’ inaction on immigration reform left Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) personal office Thursday after a Capitol Police officer threatened to arrest them if they stayed.

“We want reform, we want it now. We are titanium. Keep our families together. We want reform right now,” the group of mostly young children and teenagers sang in his personal office.

The pro-immigration reform group Keeping Families Together, which sent young activists from across the country to Washington this week, posted a video of their protest on YouTube.

A Capitol Police officer entered the office, and Cantor’s front-desk staffer said he told the activists if they want to meet with Cantor, they would have to submit an email request. “Unfortunately, they don’t want to do that,” the staffer said.  

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“You’re going to have to leave now,” the officer said to the group. “Does anyone here plan on getting arrested today?” 

They continued singing, and the officer warned again they would be arrested if they didn’t leave. “You will be subject to arrest if you stay in this room.”

Soon after, they left the office located in the Cannon House Office Building. It's unknown whether Cantor was in the office at the time. He also has a leadership office inside the Capitol.

During similar protests in congressional offices, Capitol Police usually follow that same procedure. Capitol Police did not respond to a request for comment. 

“Leader Cantor supports a step-by-step approach to immigration reform and border security, and has repeatedly made clear he would like to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who can name no other country as their home. He is working to that end,” Cantor’s Communications Director Rory Cooper told The Hill Thursday. 

In another video the immigration reform advocates posted on their YouTube channel, a group of them are singing outside Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office in Longworth House Office Building on Thursday. 

“We pray for Speaker Boehner. We pray for Speaker Boehner. We pray for Speaker Boehner. Bring a bill for a vote,” a group of them sang to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

“We’re not going to tolerate this. This is a place of business, and we do not sing in the hallway. Comprende? Done. First warning,” a Capitol Police officer told the group.

He then warned they would start making arrests if they didn’t stop, and then they did.

A group of children protested about the GOP’s inaction on the issue on Tuesday at the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

The issue is dead for this year’s legislative session, with few working days remaining in the House.

President Obama recently expressed his willingness to accept piecemeal legislation, preferred by Republicans, to overhaul the immigration system. Above all, Obama wants to provide a path to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally.