A group of DREAM Act supporters were arrested by Capitol Police this afternoon during a three-day mobilization of students — many of them undocumented — lobbying for the passage of legislation that would ease their path to citizenship. The protesters sat down in the atrium of Hart Senate Office Building with a sign reading “Undocumented and Unafraid” and “DREAM Act Now.” They were taken away by Capitol Police after about 15 minutes. A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police said officers have arrested 12 people on misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges in connection with the DREAM Act mobilization.
At a DREAM Act mobilization event this afternoon, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the bill’s chief sponsor, urged protesters to be respectful during their lobbying efforts:
Many of you will go into offices of members of the House and the Senate and you’ll be asking them to join us in this effort…A few words of advice as someone who has been visited many times by many different people for many different causes: don’t beg, don’t threaten, and be open to listen. Tell them how important this is to your life and be open to listen to how they respond….If you are respectful, if you portray your message in a respectful way, if you portray the image of a person who tomorrow could be a voter…they’ll remember that.
The sit-in apparently wasn’t the kind of representation Durbin was looking for. A spokesman for the senator told The Hill that the demonstrations “crossed the line from passionate advocacy to inappropriate behavior. … Sen. Durbin believes that we will win this fight on the merits, not through public demonstrations or publicity stunts.”