Thousands of protesters gathered outside the US Congress to demand legislation protecting young, undocumented immigrants whose work permits are being revoked by the administration of President Donald Trump.
Nearly 200 protesters, including two members of Congress, were arrested Wednesday on the steps of the US Capitol after refusing to disperse.
Among those arrested were two lawmakers in the US House of Representatives -- Luis Gutierrez and Judy Chu.
Coordinated by national and international immigrant rights groups, the protest was the latest effort to pressure US lawmakers to find a way to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DACA was a US immigration policy established by the administration of former President Barack Obama that allowed individuals who illegally entered the country as children, who are known as “dreamers,” to receive a renewable two-year work permit and avoid deportation.
The policy was revoked by the Trump administration in September 2017. Nearly 700,000 “dreamers” face deportation by March after their work permits expire.
Holding signs, raising their fists and chanting in unison, the protesters denounced Trump’s immigration policies and Congress’s sluggishness in addressing DACA’s repeal.
Speakers — including DACA recipients, members of Congress and community leaders — called on lawmakers to reject what they called the Trump administration’s hostility to immigrant groups.
The demonstrators used the moment to call attention to other administration policies they say discriminate against immigrants and refugees.
Specifically, protesters decried Trump’s travel ban and policies restricting the number of refugees who can enter the United States.
On Monday, the US Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to fully enforce the travel ban targeting eight countries, six of them Muslim majority nations, while legal challenges continue in various state courts.
The new ruling means the White House can fully enforce its entrance restrictions on most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea, along with some groups of people from Venezuela.