Eighteen people protesting the treatment of immigrants at U.S. detention facilities in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building were arrested Tuesday by the Capitol Police.
The protesters from the Never Again Action — an advocacy group comprised of Jewish organizers and affiliates — called for the closure of immigration detention camps and decried what they called human rights violations at the hands of U.S. officials. The group also urged members of Congress to cut funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
They chanted “never again,” and one demonstrator held a child along with a sign that read “Would you take someone like me away from my parents? You already have.”
The protest was peaceful, but several demonstrators sat and chanted past the warnings of the Capitol Police, which resulted in their arrest.
“The United States Capitol Police arrested 18 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating in the Rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building,” Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki wrote in an email. “All were charged with D.C. Code §22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding. They were transported to USCP Headquarters for processing.”
Talia Kaplan, a volunteer for Never Again Action, said immigrant detention camps need to be shut down, and CBP and ICE should be defunded because they conduct raids and hold people in cages.
“For many of us as Jews, we know what it’s like to see a group of people dehumanized, marginalized, vilified,“ Kaplan said. “It’s already gone too far and we want to stop things before it goes any further. We are here to say never again is now.”
Atid Kimelman, also a Never Again Action volunteer, said he helped organize the event to specifically call attention to current conditions at immigrant detention facilities.
“We’re here today to say that never again means now. Never again means never again for anyone,” Kimelman said.