For Gutierrez, D.C. arrest was fitting protest conclusion
Act of civil disobedience targeted Arizona immigration law
State Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez got her wish to be arrested Saturday in Washington, D.C., while protesting Arizona's controversial immigration law.
The arrests of Gutierrez and 33 others at a rally of thousands outside the White House were for failing to obey a police order to move.
Gutierrez (D-Dist. 18) of Chevy Chase and the other protesters urged President Obama to take the lead on the issue of immigration, she said.
"It's time for him to deliver on his promise," she said.
Congress is considering two immigration reform measures, and activists have implored Obama to actively oppose Arizona's new law.
The law would require state and local police to question those suspected of being illegal immigrants about their immigration status, and immigrants would have to be ready to prove their citizenship at any time. Under the law, police would arrest those who cannot prove they are in the country legally.
At least one Maryland lawmaker says he plans to introduce a similar bill in 2011.
Gutierrez and others have criticized Arizona's law, saying it will lead to racial profiling and racism.
Saturday's act of civil disobedience was based on protests during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, she said.
"Our act was to sit down in front of the White House gates," Gutierrez said.
Under the law, police can arrest protesters who fail to obey an order on three separate requests.
"They told us in English and in Spanish three times, and then they started arresting each of us," she said.
"It was not a pleasant activity at all. It was not a joke," Gutierrez said of her arrest. "If you have your hands tied behind your back for seven hours, let me tell you that your wrists are screaming."
The protesters now face a $100 fine or the option of a court date.
"This is not the end of this," Gutierrez said. "We're planning to have civil disobedience acts on an ongoing basis."
Gutierrez said her only other arrest came 25 years ago in front of the South African embassy when she was protesting the policies of apartheid and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela.