Congressman handcuffed by police after refusing to leave ICE office
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) was handcuffed by federal police Monday after refusing to leave an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Chicago.
Gutierrez, a staunch advocate of immigration reform, was at a meeting between ICE officials and immigration lawyers, activists, community leaders and other elected officials, NBC Chicago reported.
“They were asking about specific cases and about the general conduct of ICE and deportations,” said Gutierrez’s director of communications, Doug Rivlin.
Gutierrez refused to leave the office after the meeting and was briefly handcuffed.
“The congressman has decided that he did not get the answers he was looking for from the ICE regional director and he’s going to be staying inside until he gets answers, even if that means risking arrest,” said Rivlin, according to NBC.
In a statement later, Rivlin said: “There has been no dialogue, no transparency, no consultation, and no accountability – just like every other aspect of how this White House does business. It is heavy-handed government in secret all to make the new strongman President look tough and to satisfy the cravings of his coliseum audience for some immigrants to sacrifice.”
ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro told The Hill that police took action after Gutierrez made demands of ICE that officials were unable to agree to and then refused to leave the premises.
“However, when the Congressman sought actions and assurances that ICE officials couldn’t provide, he and other meeting attendees staged a sit-in and refused to leave the ERO office at the conclusion of the meeting,” Montenegro said.
In a tweet shortly after his release, Gutierrez said he did not know if he was going to be formally arrested over the incident.
“I was arrested, cuffed then cuffs were cut off. Waiting for further word on if/when we will be arrested,” Gutierrez said on Twitter.
— Luis V. Gutierrez (@RepGutierrez) March 13, 2017
Seven other people who attended the meeting also refused to leave, according to NBC.
Montenegro said officials asked Federal Protective Services (FPS) to remove Gutierrez and the protesters, but later relented on that request.
“[T]hey were briefly placed in flexible plastic restraints before ICE officials relayed that they no longer wanted the individuals removed from the building,” Montenegro said.
She added the protesters had not been cited.
“The Congressman and other individuals were placed in the restraints for approximately two minutes before the flex cuffs were removed by FPS. FPS did not cite these individuals,” she said.
Gutierrez has been arrested for protesting before.
In 2011, he was arrested outside the White House protesting deportations by the Obama administration.
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