LAS VEGAS (AP) - Las Vegas police cited five immigration reform activists for trespassing after they refused to leave U.S. Rep. Joe Heck's office Wednesday, saying they wanted to read the stories of his constituents suffering under the immigration system.
The demonstration was one of 27 held at congressional offices around the country to urge lawmakers to pass changes to immigration laws. About 50 demonstrators tried to get inside the Republican lawmaker's office, but his staff members told them the group was too large and needed to stay in the hallway, said Laura Martin of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, or PLAN.
Most of the crowd dispersed, but five of the protesters remained at the office, and police cited them. They included two people affiliated with PLAN, including Martin; two tied to the Las Vegas-based Culinary Union Local 226, which represents casino workers; and one person connected to an organization for young immigrants brought to the country illegally.
"Being arrested is a small price to pay compared to what immigrants across Nevada must give up while dealing with our broken immigration system," Martin said in a statement. "Congressman Heck likes to say he is the hardest working member of Congress when it comes to immigration reform. Now it's time to prove it by demanding a vote."
In response, Heck's spokesman, Greg Lemon, said the congressman has pressed GOP leaders to bring bills to a vote.
"Heck has continually expressed his support for enacting real solutions to fix our nation's broken immigration system," Lemon said.
The protests targeted members of Congress who have expressed support for changing immigration laws but have not signed on to a bill. They were organized by the Alliance for Citizenship, a group aligned with labor unions and other nonprofits.
Heck is seeking a fourth term representing the 3rd Congressional District, which has a near-even split of Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are hoping to reclaim the seat after what promises to be the most competitive House race in the state.