Thursday, February 20, 2014
By C. Sol Cotto
Director of Immigrant Welcoming Communities
General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church
On Presidents Day, Feb. 17, 31 United Methodist bishops, pastors and lay members were arrested in front of the White House, along with immigrants from the National Day Laborers Network and brothers and sisters from different faith groups, as we engaged in an act of civil disobedience.
Our purpose was to ask President Obama to stop deportations that have reached an unprecedented number during his administration: more than a thousand a day and approaching 2 million at the current rate.
Thousands of calls, letters with thousands of signatures, hunger strikes and acts of civil disobedience around the nation have not succeeded in stopping these deportations.
Meanwhile, families continue to be separated, as thousands of immigrants try to get proper documentation. Many have endured decades of delays in an immigration system that simply doesn’t work. We felt it was time to go to the steps of the White House, and Presidents Day seemed a good day to do it.
As our protest at the White House progressed, barricades went up, and our brothers and sisters were separated from us. But they continued to support us in prayer. The police cars approached us with sirens and warnings to disperse and leave the premises.