This week, kids from around the country descended on Washington to demand action on immigration reform. This morning, kids and their parents visited the offices of House Republicans to try to meet with them, tell their stories of family separation, and ask for their support. Many of the kids were snubbed, ignored, turned away, and even escorted out by Capitol Police, but no group was disrespected more than the group of children that attempted to visit Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office.
Kids came to the office bearing homemade Christmas cards, singing, “We pray for Speaker Boehner, we pray for Speaker Boehner, we pray for Speaker Boehner, bring a vote for reform.” Two Capitol police officers break into the group, yelling, “This is getting old real fast. This is a place of business and we do not tolerate singing in the hallway, comprende?”
The officer’s harsh words were met with terrified stares from the small children, which included six-year-old Gabriel Arista of North Carolina, and seven-year-old Michelle Catano of California. Organizers comfort and reassure the children, and apologize to the officers, telling them, “We’re going to pray quietly; we’re not going to sing.”
The officer responds by telling her again that “this is getting old real fast,” and threatens to “start making arrests.”
After the encounter, Gabriel, the seven-year-old boy in the “Keeping My Family Together” t-shirt, said to organizer Mehrdad Azemun, “We did not see that man’s good side today.”
Watch the full encounter here: