Rep. Gutiérrez arrested at White House immigration protest

Rep. Gutiérrez arrested at White House immigration protest
© Greg Nash

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and about 30 other protesters were arrested Tuesday outside the White House during a rally commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Gutiérrez, a vocal advocate for immigrant rights, was arrested after he and other protesters sat on the White House sidewalk. The rally was being held at Lafayette Square across Pennsylvania Avenue.

Doug Rivlin, a spokesman for Gutiérrez, said the congressman was taken by U.S. Park Police, who have jurisdiction over the area surrounding the White House. Those arrested Tuesday were taken to Park Police headquarters in Anacostia Park, Rivlin said.

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The Park Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gutiérrez has been arrested outside the White House twice before, in 2010 and 2011, in similar protests. He was also arrested at a Chicago Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in March, where he was protesting deportations of DACA program recipients, commonly known as "Dreamers."

Gutiérrez said he was at the protest to prevent the government from taking away DACA benefits "for no good reason."

"The same values that I inculcated in my daughters, that my wife and I raised them, [Dreamers] are an example and exemplify them. Their dreams are just like my kids' dreams," Gutiérrez told The Hill shortly before his arrest.

The Lafayette Square rally was commemorating DACA's fifth anniversary and comes as the program faces a critical deadline. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is leading a coalition of 10 states that have pledged to contest the program's legality unless Trump rescinds it by Sept. 5.

The White House and the Justice Department have not said if they will defend the Obama-era program in court.

Under DACA, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children have been given work permits and protection from deportation.

Protesters on Tuesday also called for continuing Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program that allows citizens of certain countries that have suffered natural disasters or internal strife to take refuge in the United States temporarily. 

Administration officials have said they are considering terminating TPS for citizens of certain countries, including Haiti and El Salvador.