Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (D-Wash.) said Saturday that she was "proud to be arrested" along with hundreds of other protesters on Capitol Hill this week, and would do it again in order to take a stand against President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE's immigration policies.
"I was proud to be arrested with them," she told The Hill. "The Trump administration is doing this and I as a Congress member, a representative of the United States government, refused to allow my name to be used in that way."
Jayapal’s arrest came Thursday at the “#WomenDisobey” protest, a sit-in organized by the Women’s March, the Center for Popular Democracy Action and CASA in Action.
“That is how the republic works,” Jayapal said. “You have to be able to use a variety of tactics, from outside organizing in the streets, civil discipline mediums, peaceful, nonviolent civil disobedience to internal organizing and advocacy on [Capitol] Hill.”
According to Capitol Police, approximately 575 people were arrested on Thursday.
The protesters blasted family separations at the border brought on by President Trump’s "zero tolerance" policy of prosecuting anyone crossing the southern border illegally. Parents and children were detained separately as a result of the process.
Although Trump has signed an executive order ending the practice, the path to reunification for the more than 2,000 children who were separated remains cloudy.
Jayapal said she was “moved” by the family stories shared by the women.
“These are mothers, sisters, daughters, people who understand exactly what these women who brought their children here we're trying to do,” Jayapal said. “We're like mama bears with a cub, right? You have to protect our children and give us our babies.”
Jayapal noted that she joined a demonstration earlier this month, along with fellow Democratic lawmakers Reps. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.), John LewisJohn LewisDebt ceiling fight pits corporate America against Republicans House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power Michelle Obama looks to mobilize voters for midterms MORE (Ga.) and Judy ChuJudy May ChuOvernight Health Care — Presented by Indivior —Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine safe for young kids White House endorses bill guaranteeing abortion access This week: Democrats face mounting headaches MORE (Calif.) marching to the headquarters of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C.
"We were ready to be arrested," she said. "Certainly there are many Congress members who have been arrested in the past on immigration issues and will continue to because we all understand that staying silent is not an option."
Jayapal said she sees the family separation issue as a larger symptom of the U.S. immigration system, saying that the government should get rid of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and start over with a blank slate.
Other lawmakers have also joined the call to abolish ICE, including Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Hochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees MORE (D-N.Y.).
Jayapal is one of the lawmakers attending this Saturday’s Washington, D.C., rally against family separations. More than 700 rallies are planned around the country and tens of thousands were expected to rally in the nation's capital.