The three members of Congress were joined by New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and several other individuals who sat in the middle of the street on Fifth Avenue, protesting President Donald Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
After police arrived on the scene and warned the protesters they weren’t allowed to block traffic, the protesters refused to leave and were handcuffed and arrested.
We are here to defend our immigrant communities,” Mark-Viverito said just prior to being arrested and placed in a Department of Corrections bus with the other protesters.
“We don’t want families to be divided,” she said. “Trump’s policy goes against what the majority of this nation supports and believes in. It goes against our values.”
“They deserve to stay in America,” Espaillat said. “They are workers, students, soldiers in our armed forces.”
Daily News reporter Erin Durkin upload several photos from the scene, which show some of the Democratic officials being handcuffed and escorted away.
The group said they were calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act, a legislative action that would provide legal status to roughly 800,000 beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Sept. 5 that the Trump administration will terminate DACA and allow Congress six months to replace the program with a legislative solution.
Reports surfaced last week suggesting that Trump struck a deal with top Democrats that would allow the 800,000 children to remain in the U.S. in exchange for increased border security measures, but without funding for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Trump and other members of his administration have rebutted the reports suggesting that border wall funding is off the table in exchange for passing the Dream Act.
Grijalva said “all acts of pressure are appropriate right now” in defense of the 800,000 children in the DACA program, commonly referred to as Dreamers.