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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Oregon Immigrant Rights Leader Arrested with Others Protesting Partisan Gridlock on Immigration Reform in Congress

Oregon Immigrant Rights Leader Arrested with others engaging in civil disobedience demanding the House Republican leadership pass Immigration Reform with a Path to Citizenship
Photo: Mas Miembros de las Uniones siendo arrestados.
PHOTO: Larry Kleinman of PCUN, Oregon's Farmworkers Union pictured in a red shirt far left side of the photo

WashingtonD.C. -- Today, Oregon immigrant rights leader, Larry Kleinman of PCUN Farmworkers Union was arrested with other national and local leaders while demanding the House Republican leadership pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. The two hundred immigration reform advocates were arrested to protest the partisan gridlock in Congress.

Among those arrested were eight House Democrats including Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

The arrests took place after the Camino Americano March and Rally for Immigration Reform in which tens of thousands of people from across the country gathered in the nation’s capital to demand the House Republican leadership pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

Bipartisan support took center stage at today’s rally. Sen. Robert Menendez reminded the audience of the bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform earlier this summer when the Senate passed a bill that garnered votes from both sides of the aisle. Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi proclaimed that immigration reform remains a top priority for her caucus as it is for the majority of Americans across the country. Along with her on stage were dozens of Democratic House members. Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart also spoke at the rally, and shared the stage with pro-immigration reform Republican House members: Reps. Jeff Denham (CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), and David Valadao (CA).  

The pro-immigration reform movement is just beginning its escalation to put direct pressure on Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. This fall, House Republicans will continuously receive constant contact by immigrant rights and union activists, faith leaders, and the broad bipartisan coalition that is growing stronger every day and is determined to get Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship this year.

Some of the national and local leaders that participated in the civil disobedience include Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, Bruce Goldstein, Executive Director of Farmworker Justice Fund, Gustavo Torres, President of CASA in Action, Bernard Lunzer, Vice-President of the Communication Workers of America, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, Abel Nuñez, Executive Director of the CARECEN DC office, D. Taylor, President of UNITE HERE, Maryland Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, John Stocks, Executive Director of the National Education Association, Maria Elena Durazo, President of the LA County Federation of Labor,  New Haven Alderman Delphine Clyburn, Joslyn Williams, President of the DC Central Labor Council, Jaime Contreras, Vice-President of SEIU 32BJ, Giev Aaron Kashkooli, Vice-President of the United Farmworkers, Terry Cavanagh, Executive Director of SEIU MD/DC State Council, Javier Valdes, Co-Director of Make the Road New York, Lawrence Benito, Executive Director of Illinois Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. 

Faith leaders include Sister Pat Rogucki, Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Pastor Sandra Jones, Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church Donna Schaper, Pastor Alice Harrington of Southside Presbyterian Church, Father Clete Kiley, Reverend Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, Reverend C.D. Witherspoon, President of the Baltimore Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Reverend Dr. Sharon Stanley of the Refugee and Immigration Ministries of the Disciples of Christ Church, and Reverend William Barber, II, President of the North Carolina Conference of the NAACP.

The Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform featured popular Latino artists, members of Congress and prominent immigration reform advocates from labor, civil rights, faith and community groups. Following mass mobilizations in more than 160 cities, the event serves to continue the broad movement’s plans of escalation for the month of October to ensure Congress votes and approves immigration reform before the end of this year. 


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