About a week after the Park Service (eventually) started allowing Veterans' Honor Flights to visit war memorials as a First Amendment activity, an immigration rally on the National Mall went forward as planned, despite a government shutdown. The rally, attended by thousands of supporters of immigration reform that would include a path to citizenship, resulted in the arrest of several members of Congress:
Here's Keith Ellison getting arrested for the immigration civil disobedience pic.twitter.com/v863IjDQBM— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) October 8, 2013
According to Foley, the Representatives arrested were Democratic Reps. Lewis, Ellison, Grivjalva, Crowley, Al Green, Gutierrez, Schakowsky, and Rangel.
Charlie Rangel is led into the Congressional paddy wagon pic.twitter.com/nt2192c5dn— Daniel Malloy (@ajconwashington) October 8, 2013
And Lewis, a civil rights activist, was arrested for the 45th time in his life:
As you might imagine, some conservatives are pretty bitter over the immigration event, after taking ownership over a story of veterans who were initially prevented from visiting their own World War II memorial hours after the shutdown began last Tuesday. While the Park Service is now allowing veterans to go to memorials after determining that veterans' Honor Flight visits — unlike those of, say, tourists — on First Amendment grounds, many have latched on to the idea that the nation's parks are being deliberately, unnecessarily, closed by the Obama administration during the shutdown in order to punish Americans.
The rally was attended by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress. But some, off of the assumption that only Democrats support a path to citizenship (and because the rally was specifically calling on House leadership to allow a vote on an existing immigration bill), assume that President Obama is allowing events that promote his own agenda. One anti-immigration activist pretty directly distilled a secondary source of outrage for some conservatives to the Daily Caller: that "it’s OK to barricade elderly veterans out of their memorials, but illegal immigrants have to be accommodated no matter what."
The rally itself was a culmination of several immigration reform events around the country on Saturday.