U.S. Capitol Police arrested more than 100 people Thursday after a group of female demonstrators participating in an immigration reform rally locked arms and blocked an intersection in downtown Washington, D.C.
The women, wearing red T-shirts demanding "Fair Immigration Reform," called for members of the House of Representative to pass comprehensive and inclusive immigration reform that treats women and children fairly. They then joined hands and sat in a circle on a major street through the Capitol complex.
"We have over 100 women including 20 undocumented women from 20 different states and they really showed tremendous courage by willing to be arrested today," immigration reform advocate Vivian Lavitan said.
Children wearing "Don't Deport My Mom" t-shirts then spent the afternoon passing out red, heart-shaped cookies to members of Congress. News4's Chris Gordon said the cookies were wrapped in plastic and tied with a tag emblazoned with the phrase "We Belong Together." Gordon said the word "Courage" was written on the cookies, as in have the "courage" to vote for comprehensive immigration reform.
One woman from Honduras told News4 through an interpreter she has three children, who cry every night in fear of their mother being deported and taken away from them.
The intersection of New Jersey Avenue and Independence Avenue was shut down temporarily as U.S. Park Police worked to disperse the large crowd.
The Capitol police chief told News4's Tony Tull he tried to talk organizers out of blocking the street, but they didn't back down.
Police began handcuffing the protesters and loading them into vans. Organizers said some two dozen of the women are in the United States without documentation.
Immigration legislation remains stalled in the House after the Senate passed a sweeping bill in June with a path to citizenship for millions.
One participant, Maria Galban of Los Angeles, who said she is a Mexican citizen in the U.S. illegally, said she wanted to send a message to Congress that immigration reform is needed to keep families like hers together.
A final count of those arrested and the charges they will face has not been released.