Five immigration reform protesters hit a bit of a snag on Wednesday when they were cited with misdemeanor trespassing charges. The protesters were part of a larger group of more than 30 individuals who had gathered in a hallway outside of the office of U.S. Rep. Joe Heck in Las Vegas. Heck, a congressman from Nevada, has fallen under scrutiny from proponents of immigration reform for being vocally supportive of reform but not yet signing the current immigration bill. Having passed successfully through the Senate, the most recent comprehensive reform bill has stalled in the House of Representatives.
The several dozen protesters had united in the hallway outside of Heck’s office with the hopes of drawing his attention by holding signs and reading letters written by immigrants living within the congressman’s district. The protesters had obtained over 150 letters from immigrants, but were asked to leave by Heck’s staff who, insisting that the office could not accommodate the crowd, eventually called the police. Upon arriving on site, the authorities asked the crowd to disperse. Some did, but five people led by Laura Martin, communication director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), refused and were cited for misdemeanor trespassing. Martin, speaking to The Las Vegas Sun following her citation, reiterated her frustration at what she feels are the empty promises of House Republicans stalling the immigration reform bill.
“All they can show us is their nice words, but they can’t show us anything they are doing,” Martin said. Heck has also expressed a great deal of frustration with the situation, particularly following the GOP’s indication in October that they would wait until after 2013 to vote on the immigration reform bill.
“This is yet another example of the leadership vacuum in Washington that rightly has so many people frustrated with this dysfunctional Congress,” Heck said in October.