More than 100 faith leadersand immigration activists were arrested on Thursday after organizing an act of civil disbedience at the White House to protest deportations of undocumented immigrants.
More than 500 people witnessed as activists were arrested by Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams in Washington D.C. In an official statement issued by the Church World Service (CWS), the organization that convened the action, they demand that the government "stop to the deportation of immigrants and end the unjust laws tearing apart families, communities and congregations."
According to the CWS the U.S. government deports 1,100 people everyday. Faith leaders and activists are appalled by the inhumane treatment towards undocumented immigrants and their families. Other organizations involved in the demonstration also included: the United Methodist Church, Church World Service, CASA de Maryland, CASA de Virginia, Bend the Arc, the Unitarian Universalists Association, the United Church of Christ, Sisters of Mercy, Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the PICO National Network, and the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
Faith leaders that risked arrest include: Bishop Minerva Carcaño (United Methodist Church), Rev. John McCullough (CEO and President of Church World Service), Sister Eileen Campbell (Vice President of Sisters of Mercy), Rev. Linda Jaramillo (Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ), Rev. Kathleen McTigue (Director of the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice), and Bill Mefford (Director of Civil & Human Rights of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society).
The demonstration began with a press conference and payer at noon in Lafayette park. The protest followed along the White House fence. People were arrested after SWAT asked them to stop protesting. Activists were charged with blocking passage. Friday and Saturday there will be more actions. On Saturday the CWS is calling for another day of action in Washington, D.C. for the Not One More Deportation Campaign.