Activists stage sit-in to pressure lawmaker on immigration reform

The heat is being turned up on lawmakers who have refused to back comprehensive immigration reform, including Rep. Kevin McClatchy, R-Calif., the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives. Around dusk on Wednesday night, Nov. 7, about 100 female activists began occupying McClatchy’s Bakersfield, Calif., office in an effort to get him to sign a pledge to allow a vote on the immigration reform bill currently pending in the House.

Putting the pressure on
McClatchy has been one of the leaders of a block of conservative House Republicans that has refused to take up the bill, which would clear a path to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants who are living in the United States.

The protesters want McClatchy and the rest of the House to approve H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. And in order to get him to do so, they occupied his office for nearly 12 hours, prompting the local police to show up and, eventually, the legislator himself, who made an appearance around midnight.

One of the women at the sit-in, Lupe Larios, released a statement through the United Farm Workers contending that the protesters did not get the response from McClatchy that they had been hoping to hear.

“We appreciate Congressman McClatchy taking time to come meet with us, but he said that with only 13 days remaining in the 2013 congressional session, it is not realistic to address immigration reform,” Larios said in her statement. “As one of his constituents and a voter, we don’t want to hear more excuses as to why it can’t be done this year.”

McClatchy’s response
Mike Long, a spokesman for McClatchy, released his own statement criticizing the protesters for disrupting the activities and services of the congressman’s office. Instead of a comprehensive reform package, McClatchy is in favor of reforming the nation’s immigration system through a series of smaller measures.