Immigrant Advocates Arrested at White House

Congressman among activists who planned civil disobedience

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    Ambrose Vurnis, NBCWashington.com

    Immigrant advocates were arrested in front of the White House fence Saturday afternoon, after sitting down and defying orders from police.

    About three dozen protesters and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) joined in the civil disobedience, holding a sign reading, "Obama, Stop Deporting Our Families." Some wore T-shirts that read "Arrest Us, Not Our Families."

    They protested a new Arizona anti-illegal immigration law that requires authorities to question people if they suspect they're in the country illegally. Opponents call the law anti-immigrant, but supporters said it's necessary because the federal government has failed to secure the borders.

    The arrested advocates, including Gutierrez, had planned to ignore police and were prepared to be arrested.

    Protesters are usually required to stay in motion when demonstrating in front of the White House.

    Hundreds of protesters turned out for the rally at Lafayette Park, urging President Barack Obama to fulfill his campaign promises to achieve immigration reform.

    Obama was to return to the White House around 2:40 p.m. after speaking at the University of Michigan. Two Marine helicopters flew overhead, but it wasn't clear if Obama was on board.

    Immigrant rights activists held marches nationwide.