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Memo to Congress: The gloves are coming off. Three undocumented students were arrested this week after organizing a nonviolent sit-in at Republican Sen. John McCain’s congressional office in Tucson, Arizona. The sit-in was part of an effort to pressure lawmakers to support comprehensive immigration reform, and it’s only the beginning. Reform Immigration For America, one of the nation’s leading immigrant rights coalitions, has just called for a sustained civil disobedience campaign to bolster support for reform.
As Todd A. Heywood reports for the Michigan Messenger, five individuals peacefully occupied the McCain facility on Monday before four of them—three undocumented and one a legal citizen—were arrested at the scene and “charged with trespassing by Tucson authorities.”
The undocumented youth were supposed to be released earlier in the week, Heywood writes, “but Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepped in” and detained them. As of this writing the three young people—Mohammad Abdollahi, Yahaira Carrillo, and Lizbeth Mateo—have been released by the agency, but could still face deportation.
The protest was meant to urge McCain to not only support immigration reform, but to specifically back the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act), a bipartisan bill in Congress that would offer a path to citizenship to certain undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children.