About 200 protesters were arrested Wednesday for refusing to leave the steps of the U.S. Capitol while urging Congress to replace Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Among those arrested was Guadalupe Magdaleno, executive director of Wichita’s Sunflower Community Action. Several lawmakers were also arrested, including Rep. Judy Chu, D-California.
Magdaleno said she and eight other members of Sunflower Community Action went to D.C. to protest because “the clock is ticking.”
When President Donald Trump ended DACA in September, he gave Congress a window to act before March 5. Several pieces of legislation have been proposed to give “dreamers” permanent residence in the United States, but nothing has been passed.
Nearly 790,000 young immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief through DACA.
Dreamers are being put at risk of deportation every day that Congress doesn’t act, Magdaleno said.
“These kids don’t know their countries of origin,” Magdaleno said. “The only country they know is this one. Many of them don’t even speak the language of their parents’ origin country. They are suffering a lot of anxiety.”
The Washington Post reported that organizers arranged with U.S. Capitol Police that the protesters would pay a $50 fee rather than being detained. Magdaleno said that one other member of Sunflower was also arrested.
“This is not a political issue,” Magdaleno said. “Our government, congressmen are making this political, but this is a humane issue, a moral issue.”
The U.S. Capitol Police did not immediately respond to requests to confirm Magdaleno’s arrest.