A dozen protesters were arrested Wednesday outside of U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office in downtown Spokane.
They were part of a protest calling on Republicans in the House of Representatives to pass sweeping immigration reform.
The 12 detained by Spokane police are local members of One America, a national activist group pushing for fixes to what members of both major political parties have repeatedly called a “broken” immigration system.
The protesters were arrested on charges of interference with vehicular traffic after ignoring requests to disperse, Spokane police spokeswoman Monique Cotton said. The charge is a municipal offense classified as a misdemeanor.
Although some of the chants and the messages scribbled on signs were directed at McMorris Rodgers, the third-ranking member of the GOP, much of the criticism was directed at House Speaker John Boehner.
Protesters say Boehner is blocking a House floor vote on legislation passed by the Senate earlier this year that would enact some changes conservative lawmakers won’t stomach. In addition to strengthening border security efforts, the Senate bill also creates a new program for undocumented residents to apply for legal status.
Boehner said Wednesday that the House will not hold formal compromise talks on the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration bill, a fresh signal from the Republican leadership that the issue is dead for the year.
Among those arrested Wednesday for refusing to leave the street was 21-year-old Angela Solis, a Whitworth University student who participated because she said the current immigration system divides families.
“I risk arrest because I want to fight for the future of my friends, my family and aspiring citizens,” Solis said in a written statement handed out before her arrest.
The protest began around 11 a.m. in front of the Peyton Building, where McMorris Rodgers maintains her Spokane office.
Police took all 12 of the advocates, who sat in a circle with their arms intertwined, into custody before 12:45 p.m.
Post Street was closed between Sprague and Riverside avenues during the protest, which included chants and songs imploring the GOP to consider the wide-ranging Senate bill.