September 16, 2019

82 Rabbis and Jewish Activists Arrested During DACA Protest

A total of 82 rabbis and Jewish activists were arrested on Wednesday during a protest against President Trump ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The protest occurred on Capitol Hill, where over 100 rabbis and Jewish activists conducted a sit-in in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building. The protesters chanted “We will not be moved!” and “Let my people stay!” in favor of the Dreamers. The protesters were also surrounded by red paper that read, “Jews demand a clean Dream Act!”

The 82 protesters were arrested for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” in a public building, but most of them are expected to be released.

“We as Jews know the experience of being immigrants,” Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement Associate Director Barbara Weinstein told the Huffington Post, “and as Americans, we’re deeply aware of our history as a nation of immigrants, and that throughout that history immigrants have been a source of strength for this country.”

Before the sit-in, the protesters handed out petitions to congressional members that featured over 5,000 signatures advocating for Congress to pass the Dream Act.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Bend the Arc were among the Jewish organizations at the protest. Members of Congress who stopped by to support the protesters included Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL).

DACA was first implemented as an executive order under the Obama administration in 2012that prevented 800,000 Dreamers from being deported.

The protests come as Congress and the White House are attempting to reach a deal on DACA, but so far no deal appears to be imminent. Congressional Democrats are threatening to block a spending bill that funds the government if there is no DACA deal by Friday.