More than 130 people were arrested outside the White House Thursday for staging a protest to demand that President Obama take executive action on immigration reform, the latest example of the president being pressured to act more quickly on the hot-button issue.
The immigrant rights groups Casa of Maryland and Casa of Virginia said the rally contained “one of the largest number of immigrant supporters ever arrested for a civil disobedience action in front of the White House.”
“Taking action through civil disobedience is one small measure to stop the suffering of immigrant families facing separation through deportation, and the suffering of the neighbors, friends, coworkers and co-congregants that love them,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of the groups. “Today, on this national day to fight for families, we call on President Obama to do everything in his power to enact humane and compassionate administrative relief that will end our suffering.”
Obama is weighing whether to expand the deferral of deportations to millions of additional immigrants in the U.S. illegally. He could also propose a massive overhaul of how green cards are awarded, said immigration advocacy groups.
The president is expected to announce his plan by the end of summer.
Activists also have been arrested outside the White House in recent months for calling on the president to block the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and to issue executive orders to strengthen worker protections for gay citizens.