Arizona state representative Isela Blanc was arrested yesterday in Washington, DC while protesting against the potential expiration of DACA.
The lawmaker has been open about her previous status as an illegal immigrant, telling Arizona’s Mesa Independent, “I’m not embarrassed about the fact that I was undocumented. I frankly got tired of people in this state – in particular, Republicans – telling my story, calling me a criminal, demonizing who we are and what we represent.”
Hundreds of demonstrators descended on the US capital, holding sit-ins in the offices of lawmakers, blocking traffic, and chaining themselves to one another outside the Capitol building itself.
Blanc was one of 87 people facing charges after the rally. Sixty-eight protestors were picked up for “crowding, obstructing or incommoding” on the National Mall, with 28 of them facing an additional charge of resisting arrest. The remaining 19 violations occurred in connection with demonstrations in Longworth House Office Building.
In a statement, Blanc wrote “I’ve been undocumented, I know the fear and anxiety the Dreamers feel. I’m also an elected official, so I know what it means to reach the American Dream, which is all they want. I have a moral obligation to fight for them.”
The Democrat expressed her dissatisfaction at the lack of bipartisanship being displayed in current times, previously crediting President Ronald Reagan with the last major similar immigration reforms of 1986. She previously said she was shocked that a Republican passed the legislation responsible for her citizenship.
In a quote to the Arizona Daily Sun, Blanc said “It’s so frustrating. I cannot believe that almost 32 years ago we actually had a Congress – both Republican and Democrat – that maybe didn’t necessarily agree but could actually come together and work on some level of a pathway to citizenship.”
Representative Blanc came to the United States with her immediate family at the age of 7 from Guadalajara, Mexico. She arrived with her parents and two sisters on temporary visas in 1978, and became a citizen through The Immigration Reform and Control Act at the age of 16.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was initiated under President Obama, deferring the deportation of roughly 800,000 people from the US. During his State of the Union address in January, President Trump offered his to support for a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million people.