WASHINGTON – Hundreds of “dreamers” and supporters swarmed a Senate office building Tuesday, blocking the doors to a number of the senators’ offices and occupying others as the chanted “Dream Act now” and demanded that Congress pass legislation this week to let them remain in the country. At least six were arrested.
Activists from United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, rallied at the offices of about 20 Republican senators including Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Bob Corker of Tennesse, Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona. The six arrested by Capitol Police were blocking the entrance to Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley’s office
Wearing orange “Clean Dream Act: beanies and pumping their fists, they demanded that Congress act on a Senate bill that would reinstate temporary visas and work permits for the approximately 700,000 young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parent. Then President Barack Obama created the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, but President Donald Trump canceled it, effective in March.
The DACA renewal and Trump’s desire to get funding for a wall between Mexico and the U.S. as well as tighten immigration policies has been tied to passing a bill to allow the government to contunue operations. Funding runs out Jan. 19 under a temporary spending bill. Republicans hope to pass a new temporary spendning bill, but Democrats have said they wont support it without action on DACA.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department announced Tuesday that it would request direct review from the Supreme Court of the temporary restraining order to stop the dismantling of DACA issued last week by U.S. District Judge William Alsup’s, allowing the government to circumvent filing an appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly,” Sessions said.
The United We Dream protesters chanted in both English and Spanish. One chant said “We are the immigrants, the mighty mighty immigrants.”
Aides for Grassley did not immediately return requests for comment.