Yesterday, we wrote about the children who were threatened by Capitol Police with arrest for singing carols outside Speaker Boehner’s office. Univision’s evening broadcast last night played the most offensive parts of the clip, and interviewed several of the children to ask them how they felt.
Watch the clip:
There’s some good snark at the beginning from the Univision anchor, who slyly compares the Biblical mandate to “Let the children come to me” to Speaker Boehner’s office locking them out. But the crucial part of the clip is the reactions of the children they interviewed. Here are the English translations:
First child (a preteen who is identified as being from Chicago): “I felt mad because they called the police on us, as if we were criminals. The only thing we were doing is expressing our opinion and we wanted them to listen to us, and they treated us like criminals.”
Second child (also a preteen): “I felt very afraid because they said very ugly things to us, and scared us quite a bit.”
Third child (young): “(I felt) Afraid and sad because they—they scared me.”
Fourth child (young, in tears): “They don’t know the pain we’re going through.”
That last quote proves that the defenders of the Capitol Police, who have accused advocates of “using” children who don’t know what they’re doing to further their agenda, are wholly off base. It’s true that the children threatened by the police yesterday have been roped into a political battle that they should not have to participate in. But the people responsible for roping them in aren’t the advocates—they’re the people who deported their parents, and forced them to live in broken and threatened families, and the people like Speaker Boehner who refuse to bring immigration reform with a path to citizenship to the House floor for a vote. These brave children know what they are fighting for better than anyone else, including Speaker Boehner.
The threats and intimidation from Capitol Police yesterday were offensive and unacceptable. We hope that the “review” promised in a press statement results in appropriate actions for the officers involved, and that we don’t hear any more about intimidation or hostility toward advocates in House offices—much less children.