Democratic state representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) was handcuffed following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Chicago, several news outlets reported.
Gutierrez came to the 10 am meeting with about 22 advocates, attorneys, and community members to discuss specific cases including that of Francisca Lino – a Mexican immigrant married to a U.S. citizen and mother to four U.S. citizens who is due to be deported in July – and ICE officials’ conduct.
The lawmaker and seven others then stayed behind and demanded no future raids and reconsideration of specific deportation cases. Gutierrez wants Lino’s deportation to be canceled.
Spokesman Douglas Rivlin said “Gutierrez did not get the answers he was looking for from the ICE regional director and decided to stay inside until he gets answers, even if that means risking arrest,” NBC News reported.
Gutierrez was handcuffed around 1.30pm, but his cuffs were later taken off and released. He was not charged with any crime.
The Illinois congressman has been called the ‘Martin Luther King of immigration reform’ for his championing of immigrant rights and his fights for individuals such as Lino and Army veteran Miguel Perez Jr, who has a green card but served time in jail for a drug conviction.
An ICE public affairs official said that when Gutierrez “sought actions and assurances that ICE officials couldn’t provide,” he began the sit-in.
Gutierrez’s spokesman compared ICE’s alleged lack of transparency to the situation following Donald Trump’s first immigration ban, when officials often could not answer basic questions about what the policy was or how it was to be enacted.
Gutierrez, who has been arrested before for civil disobedience, said he was also banned, along with fellow members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, from a meeting with the acting ICE director in February and that he was prohibited from attending an invitation-only meeting by a Paul Ryan aide.