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Arizona state representative arrested during ‘Dreamer’ protest in DC

Arizona state Rep. Isela Blanc, left, is getting taken away in handcuffs by U.S. Capitol Police after participating in a protest for so-called "dreamers" on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Monday, March 5, 2018. (Twitter/@RobbieSherwood)

PHOENIX — An Arizona state representative was among the dozens of people arrested on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Monday while participating in a protest for undocumented immigrants.

Rep. Isela Blanc, D-Tempe, was one of the 87 people who were arrested during Monday’s protest, Tomas Robles, the co-director of LUCHA, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. 

Blanc and two other members of LUCHA, Dashown Grays and Karen Ibarra, were released from custody later that same day, the group announced in a Tweet.

Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that 68 people were arrested at the Mall for unlawful demonstration activities and were charged with “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.”

Twenty-eight of those individuals also were charged with resisting arrest, Malecki said.

Nineteen more people were arrested and charged with “crowding, obstructing or incommoding” for unlawful demonstration activities in the Longworth House Office Building.

Blanc was in Washington, D.C. with members of the Arizona-based advocacy organization Living United for Change in Arizona, otherwise known as LUCHA, to demand that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Video posted on social media by the organization showed Blanc participating in the protest.

Blanc, who was formerly undocumented, said in a statement before her arrest that she vowed to “fight” for other undocumented immigrants.

“I’ve been undocumented, I know the fear and anxiety the Dreamers feel,” the statement read, according to the Phoenix New Times. “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.”

Monday was a significant day for immigration reform advocates: President Donald Trump set it as the day that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expired before a U.S. district court judge blocked the move last month.

The Trump administration initially put an end to the Obama-era program that granted temporary work permits to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children late last year.

The six-month delay was meant to allow Congress to decide whether it wants to write legislation to protect the so-called “Dreamers.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the program an “unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch” at the time. He also said that the Trump administration was urging Congress to find another way to protect young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

But U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled in January that the DACA program must remain in place while litigation over Trump’s decision unfolds.

Shortly after the ruling was made, about 11,000 people renewed their protections, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

As of Jan. 31, another 22,000 people have initial requests for DACA protection pending. The number of people with DACA protection as of the end of January was 683,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.