For the second time in as many years, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez was arrested Tuesday for demonstrating outside the White House against President Obama’s record on immigration reform, his spokesman said.
Gutierrez (D-Ill.) had been attending a rally of more than 1,000 Latino civil rights activists in Lafayette Park across from the White House. He was among a dozen protestors who broke off from the crowd and sat down next to the White House’s perimeter security fence, said Douglas Rivlin, Gutierrez’s spokesman.
U.S. Park Police asked the group to leave, but the protesters refused, and all 12 in the group were arrested, Rivlin said.
In a statement released by his office after the arrest, Gutierrez said: “The President says Republicans are blocking immigration reform and he's right, but it doesn’t get him off the hook.”
Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA of Maryland, also was among those who were taken into custody, Rivlin said.
Gutierrez was arrested in May 2010 in a similar incident and was then taken to Park Police headquarters in Anacostia, where he was released after agreeing to pay a $100 fine.
Rivlin did not immediately know whether the protocol would be the same for this arrest.
“He has $100 in his pocket,” Rivlin said Tuesday. “But I don’t know if he will pay the fine this time.”
The arrests come a day after Obama was met with a lukewarm reception during a luncheon address at the annual convention for the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights group.
Some civil rights activists have criticized his administration for deporting 1 million undocumented residents.
At a news conference after the event Monday, La Raza President Janet Murguía said the president had failed the Latino community.
“We’re not satisfied the president has kept his promise,” she said. “On the issue of immigration reform, it’s fair to say that we didn’t hear anything new.”
Rivlin said Gutierrez believes Obama has not acted forcefully enough to stop the deportation of families who have not been involved in criminal activities.
“Since the beginning of the year we have tried to make the case that the president has the powers on a case-by-case basis to evaluate deportations,” Rivlin said.
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