Things That Matter

Rep. Gutierrez Went To ICE For Answers And When He Didn’t Get Them He Staged A Sit-In

Rep. Luis Gutierrez is not going down without a fight. The representative from Illinois’s 4th congressional district took a stand and tried to confront Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in their Chicago office on Monday. Gutierrez was seeking answers about the fate of Francisca Lino, a Chicago woman and mother of six who is currently facing deportation after 18 years in the U.S.

Gutierrez’s protest and arrest is the latest in a long line of anti-deportation demonstrations across the country started by the detention of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos in Arizona and sweeping raids that have left undocumented communities in fear.

Francisca Lino has lived in the U.S. for 18 years, has six children, and is married to a U.S. citizen. Last week, during a check-in with ICE, Lino was told she’d have to leave.

“ICE needs to be careful not to turn routine supervised-release visits into a high risk of detention,” Leon Fresco, former deputy assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation, told CNN. “Or it will unwittingly create more fugitives who won’t show up to these visits.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez heard about Lino’s situation and immediately organized a meeting with ICE officials in Chicago.

The Washington Post described Rep. Gutierrez as a sort of “father figure” to Lino, who has been there with Lino for the past 15 years, as she attempted to clear up her immigration issues.

Rep. Gutierrez held a 5-hour sit-in after the original meeting didn’t culminate with the ending he was hoping for.

“Look, there’s a lie, and the lie keeps repeating,” Rep. Gutierrez told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “[The lie is that] they’re going after criminals, they’re going after the bad people in the immigrant community. The fact is, they’re going after DREAMers.”

DREAMers have been fearful of the Trump administration using their information from DACA renewals or enrollment against them. In New York City, Republican politicians filed a lawsuit to prevent Mayor Bill de Blasio from purging information that can be used for deportation from the IDNYC system. The information will now only be made available under a judge’s order.

Rep. Gutierrez and the immigration activists in the room refused to leave the building after being threatened with arrest. As Rep. Gutierrez’s Twitter caption states, officials arrested them then quickly released those detained.

Rep. Gutierrez told CNN that he asked the officers to arrest him because he was there for answers and would not be leaving.

Here’s a video of the arrest as it happened.

El congresista Luis Gutiérrez fue arrestado hoy en las oficinas regionales del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de Estados Unidos (ICE) en Chicago.

Artemio Arreola, director de organización política de la Coalición de Illinois de Inmigrantes y Refugiados (ICIRR), mencionó que todos fueron detenidos por “desobediencia civil” e indicó que permanecían en el cuarto piso de las instalaciones de ICE.

“Luego nos amenazaron con llevarnos arrestados y les dijimos que estábamos dispuestos a ir a la cárcel por nuestros inmigrantes. Nos pusieron las esposas y a los minutos nos las quitaron, porque a ellos les gusta tratar con tiranía a los que ven vulnerables”, agregó el Congresista.

Posted by JP Dominguez on Monday, March 13, 2017

After the arrest, Rep. Gutierrez tweeted this photo with a caption that lets everyone know that he is not done fighting yet.

“They were scared to arrest us because they know our cause is just,” Rep. Gutierrez tweeted. “We ended our sit in but we will #resist.”

Watch Rep. Gutierrez talk to CNN about his arrest.

READ: Watch Congressman Luis Gutierrez Passionately Explain Why He’s Boycotting The Inauguration

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