Police in the US Capitol arrested some 100 Jewish activists, many of them Reform clergy, who protested in a Senate office building on behalf of a bill that would protect illegal immigrants who arrived as children.
Several dozen of the activists from the Reform Movement, the Anti-Defamation League, Bend the Arc, Truah and other liberal Jewish groups sat in concentric circles on Wednesday in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building until they were removed by police. They sang protest songs in Hebrew and English.
The demonstrators demanded the passage of a bill that would protect the so-called “Dreamers.” US President Donald Trump removed executive orders put in place by his predecessor, Barack Obama, to protect the Dreamers from deportation.
Trump is ready to endorse a measure that restores the protections as long as it includes new restrictions on legal immigration. Democrats are ready to countenance some restrictions, including money for a wall on the US-Mexico border, but are resisting others — for instance, an end to “chain migration,” which allows new immigrants to sponsor immediate family for immigration.
“For all the activists today, this is a matter of principle,” Barbara Weinstein, associate director of the Reform Movement's Religious Action Center, said in an interview. “We shall not be moved.”
Last Friday, White House spokesman Raj Shah said, “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.”
“Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation,” the spokesman added.