About 60 activists from the immigrant community were arrested Thursday in protests in front of the U.S. Congress demanding approval of a comprehensive immigration reform package that would legalize the country’s 11 million undocumented migrants.
The groups that organized the protests said in a communique that 41 activists were arrested in the morning and at least 15 others during the afternoon, although the total number could rise.
The first group of activists was arrested after they blocked a main street near the Capitol.
“Each day that the House of Representatives leaves the reform to the side, 1,100 members of our community are deported. We’re here to say enough, our community has organized and mobilized itself and is demanding a vote” on reform, said Marielena Hincapie, the executive director for the National Immigration Law Center.
Kica Matos, an activist with the Center for Community Change and one of the people arrested, said that immigrant defense organizations will not halt their “escalation” of activities until immigration reform is approved.
Among the 41 activists arrested in the morning are union, civic and religious leaders who are pressuring the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to adopt the immigration reform the Senate passed on June 27.
These protest activities, activists say, are part of a national “40 Dias de Accion” (40 Days of Action) mobilization campaign, which will continue throughout August to put pressure on Congress to approve immigration reform when it returns to work on Sept. 9 after its recess.