Democratic congresswoman: ‘I was proud to be arrested’ with immigration protesters

Democratic congresswoman: ‘I was proud to be arrested’ with immigration protesters
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Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOn The Money: Trump issues emergency order grounding Boeing 737 Max jets | Senate talks over emergency resolution collapse | Progressives seek defense freeze in budget talks Progressives seek defense freeze in budget talks House Dems reintroduce the Dream Act 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 John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report 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.

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“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 Lewis Civil rights icon John Lewis after New Zealand mosque attacks: 'We cannot sow seeds of hatred' Why are Trump and Congress avoiding comprehensive immigration reform? Together, we carry on the age-old struggle for justice for all MORE (Ga.) and Judy ChuJudy May ChuMnuchin to consider providing more penalty relief for taxpayers Dems seek relief for worried taxpayers in tough filing season IRS watchdog urges agency to provide more underpayment penalty relief 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 Elizabeth GillibrandNew York Rep. Maloney endorses Gillibrand for president Actress Connie Britton endorses former roommate Gillibrand for president Trump singles out local union boss over GM's decision to shutter Ohio plant 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.