SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo Among Those Arrested for Civil Disobedience at the U.S. Capitol, Demanding Immigration Reform with a Path to Citizenship in 2013

Following the Camino Americano: March for Immigration Reform, Morillo joins Rep. Ellison, other members of Congress and hundreds in civil disobedience action at Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the rally at the National Mall where tens of thousands gathered, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leaders were among nearly 200 local and national leaders, immigrants, civil rights and faith leaders arrested for engaging in acts of civil disobedience at the U.S. Capitol today to demand that House Republican leaders pass commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship in 2013.

Arrested were Jaime Contreras, 32BJ SEIU Vice President and SEIU Maryland-DC State Council President; Terry Cavanagh, SEIU Maryland-DC State Council Executive Director; Javier Morillo, SEIU Local 26 President; Sylvia Ruiz, SEIU Immigrant Justice Campaign Director; Natalia Salgado, SEIU New York State Council Deputy Director and Estela Vasquez, SEIU 1199 Executive Vice President.

“Two hundred men and women have made a serious decision to cross the line to make it undeniably clear to Speaker Boehner and his colleagues in leadership that we are not tired, we are not shutting up and by no means will we stop demanding a commonsense solution to our dysfunctional immigration system,” Morillo said. “Today’s events should serve as a rude awakening to Mr. Boehner—he can either do what’s right for America or deal with the weight of the public’s unflinching pressure.”

Also among the arrestees were U.S. Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), John Lewis (D-GA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Al Green (D-TX).

“Today I saw and heard the hope, the frustrations, the determination of the American people – as we have been seeing and hearing for years – who want the immigrant community to walk the road to citizenship and participate fully in our democracy,” said Contreras, an immigrant who fled a bloody civil war in El Salvador at age 13. “The American Dream has been a reality for me, and I stand unequivocally in solidarity with them.”

Vasquez added, “I am an immigrant. I am one of many who represent a community that contributes to our nation’s economy, society and democracy. Yet our immigration system stands in our way. If my act of civil disobedience says anything about what we’re doing today, it’s that the time for immigration reform is now.”

“Speaker Boehner can’t deny it; the bipartisan support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship is right in front of him,” affirmed Sylvia Ruiz, Director of SEIU’s immigration campaign. “The choice is easy: stand with the American public by calling a vote for the immigration bill that’s already waiting on the table. Otherwise, we will continue calling, marching voting and boldly acting until we win reform.”

Following mass mobilizations in over 160 cities, today’s event is one of many planned in October to urge a congressional vote and passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship before the end of this year. The movement’s growing strength and support throughout the country stands in sharp contrast to the federal government shutdown.


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