Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal arrested while protesting immigrant family separations

WASHINGTON — Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal said she was arrested Thursday while protesting immigrant family separations and the zero tolerance policy.

"I was just arrested with 500+ women and @WomensMarch to say @RealDonaldTrump's cruel zero-tolerance policy will not continue," Jayapal tweeted Thursday afternoon. "Not in our country. Not in our name. June 30 we're putting ourselves in the street again. Join us. Familiesbelongtogether.org."

The arrest happened during a protest at the center of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

"This is about right and wrong," Jayapal said in a video she tweeted Thursday after her arrest. "We have to put ourselves on the line."

On Father's Day, protesters gathered at Seattle's Westlake to rally against the separation of families illegally crossing the U.S. border and families separated while seeking asylum.

Recently, the Associated Press reported nearly 2,000 minors were separated from their families at the border over a six-week period in a crackdown on illegal entries, according to Department of Homeland Security figures they obtained.

The Seattle rally came after undocumented mothers were taken from their children and transported to SeaTac from the southern border for detainment.

"Every father should have the right to nurture their children," Jayapal said to the crowd in Seattle on Father's Day. "And there are 32 men at the federal prison in SeaTac that were part of the 206 that were transferred from the southern border."

A rally against the detainment in SeaTac was also held on June 9.

At that rally, Jayapal said she was able to meet with the detained women for hours.

"I was able to meet with all of the women that are being held there. ... They come from 16 countries. The vast majority of them are seeking political asylum," Jayapal said. "A huge number of them are mothers whose children were taken away from them when they were apprehended at the border or when they turned themselves in."

"They literally never had a chance to say goodbye to their children," Jayapal said.

She also said the majority of detained mothers had no idea where their children were.

Jayapal called the separation "heartbreaking."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson shared a letter after reports surfaced of the women detained in SeaTac, asking for more and immediate information on the asylum seekers taken to SeaTac.

Under a "zero tolerance" policy announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security officials are referring all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution, according to the Associated Press. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

"This does not need legislation," Jayapal said at the Father's Day rally in Seattle. "The only thing that needs to happen is Donald Trump needs to say, 'No. I am not going to do this anymore.'"

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