BREAKING: Rea Carey arrested in protest of US House inaction on immigration reform
Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Rea Carey was one of 27 people — including several children of undocumented immigrants — arrested today while protesting the US House leadership’s inaction on fair immigration reform. Carey was one of a group of protesters who blocked an intersection outside the US House as part of the “Stop Separating Families Action” also referred to as #youthinaction on Twitter. The event was organized by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, with grassroots organizations in 30 states. It also included activists from several other immigration reform organizations and Ben Jealous, the former President and CEO of the NAACP.
Prior to the act of civil disobedience, hundreds of supporters gathered for a press conference in front of the Capitol Building. While being interviewed there alongside Ben Jealous, Carey shared this story:
“We heard from young people who are from all over the country whose parents are in detention. Or they may be living with a parent not in detention and they wake up every morning worried that that parent may be taken away from them. The youngest person who is part of this event today—Yahir–is 11 years old, and he spoke quite eloquently and powerfully and he inspired me to make sure we are doing everything we can for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country to reform immigration. And for the more than 250,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants in this country.”
Ben Jealous added “the most important fight in our country is the fight for our families, and that’s true in the fight for Marriage Equality…and it’s true in this fight, to make sure we keep families in one place and together.”
Later, Carey spoke out about the inaction of the House of Representatives in holding up progress on fair immigration reform.
“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. In this instance, Speaker Boehner is the problem. His intransigence on fixing our broken immigration system is inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on millions of vulnerable undocumented immigrants and their families. He must act now and do the right thing for these 11 million immigrants, over a quarter of a million of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Immigrants and their families need a real pathway to citizenship, not unnecessary political gridlock. All they want is to be able to fulfill the promise of America and access the American Dream.”
This is the second time Carey has been arrested to protest fair immigration reform. On September 15, 2013, she joined more than 100 women — some of whom were undocumented immigrants –as part of a civil disobedience action organized by We Belong Together to highlight the negative impact inaction is having on on women and their families and the lack of progress on reform in the U.S. House.
Many of the children arrested at the Stop Separating Families Action wore pictures of their parents and families they had been separated from because of our country’s broken immigration system. “It is total hypocrisy to talk about ‘family values’ but act in a way that shows that you don’t really value families. The children of undocumented immigrants who were arrested today know better than most, the terrible impact of inaction on their lives.”
“Immigration reform is not just good for families — its good for our democracy, good for our economy and good for America. Our broken system has a clear fix that most Americans want action on now. It’s time for the House to actually represent what most Americans want — fair immigration reform,” urged Carey.