Rea Carey, the out lesbian who heads the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was arrested today during an act of civil disobedience aimed at pressuring the U.S. House of Representatives to act on comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform, reports the Task Force.
Carey was one of 105 women who blocked traffic outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., this morning. The women linked arms to make a circle across an intersection, then sat down in the street and refused to move until police arrested all 105 women demonstrating, including several undocumented immigrants. Every demonstrator was wearing a red shirt emblazoned with the slogan "Women for Fair Immigration Reform" on the front and "House United Now!" on the reverse. The all-female group of protesters hoped to bring awareness to the fact that three out of four undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. are women or children.
"Immigration reform is not just good for women and their families — it's good for our democracy, good for our economy, and good for America," said Carey in an address at a press conference before the action. "If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. The House must act now and do the right thing for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, over a quarter of a million of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. These people need a real pathway to citizenship and the American Dream now — not the nightmare of gridlock."
Between 200 and 300 supporters stood in solidarity with the demonstrators, according the the Task Force's blog, demanding that the House take action on comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. — 51% of whom are women. The Senate passed such a bill by a bipartisan majority in June, but it has thus far stalled in the House.
Today's action was organized by We Belong Together, which bills itself as a national campaign to highlight the priorities of women in immigration reform and to "mobilize women to push for immigration reform that: includes a clear path to citizenship; keeps families together and upholds the family immigration system; protects survivors of violence; prevents workplace abuses; promotes the health and wellbeing of women and children; honors women’s work inside and outside of the home; and is not driven by enforcement," according to the Task Force.
See more photos from today's demonstration below: