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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), was arrested today at the U.S. Capitol along with hundreds of religious and community leaders in a peaceful demonstration calling on Congress to pass compassionate immigration reform. Tens of thousands gathered on the National Mall before marching to the Capitol to send a message to the House of Representatives—get immigration reform done and get it done now.
Prior to his arrest, Morales addressed the huge crowd at an ecumenical prayer service that took place on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building. He said, “I’m here on stage with 50 clergy from 40 states. Across the country, another 10,000 people of faith are praying and fasting in support of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship now and to stop the needless deportations hurting our communities. The time is now. The consequences of inaction would be devastating for millions of people living in this country.”
Morales was previously arrested in 2010 in Phoenix, AZ while protesting that state’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070.
Today’s events wrap up a 3-day mobilization effort that began on October 5 with more than 180 events all over the country involving Unitarian Universalist congregations, other faith communities, labor organizations, and civil rights groups. These events included farmworker actions in Central California; statewide caravans across Arizona and Illinois; downtown rallies in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles; and a march across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.
The pro-reform movement has consistently and powerfully brought the message to key Congressional members that the time is now for immigration reform, with polls showing 73 percent of Americans support immigration reform.
The mobilization sends a clear message that people in the United States will not stand for more families torn apart by deportations, worker exploitation by abusive employers, or allow children’s dreams to be robbed from them.