Immigrant-rights advocates had to be forcibly escorted from the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday after they protested a meeting scheduled to consider an immigration bill focused only on tighter border security.
Standing and clapping in unison, they delayed the beginning of the meeting while chanting “Si, se puede” — which roughly translates as “Yes, we can.” It has been a slogan in the immigrant-rights community for years, and President Obama adopted it during his 2008 campaign.
“This does not help their cause. This is unhelpful to orderly process,” said Rep. John Conyers Jr., the top Democrat on the panel, who supports the activists’ call for action, but said the committee needed to get down to business.
Even after they were kicked out of the committee room, the protesters could still be heard in the hallway outside the room, and committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, had to have the police clear the corridor.
The committee is beginning work on an immigration enforcement bill, while advocates want to see legalization of illegal immigrants.