Washington: Eight Democrat members of US Congress courted arrest in a show of civil disobedience at a rally here calling for comprehensive immigration reform to legalise America`s 11 million undocumented workers, including 300,000 Indians.
"I`ve been arrested a few times, and I don`t mind getting arrested again for something that is right and fair and just," said House member John Lewis the civil rights icon known for his speech during the March on Washington a half-century ago.
Lewis was arrested with fellow Democratic member Charlie Rangel and Joe Crowley of New York, Luis Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, , Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Al Green of Texas.
Thousands of activists - from young children wearing white T-shirts that read "Don`t Deport My Dad" to activists cheering and waving signs that proclaimed: "No Human is Illegal" - gathered on the national Mall to participate in the rally.
More than a dozen congressional Democrats and four House Republicans came before the crowd to push for a reform bill in the House where the issue has stalled amid a showdown over fiscal policy.
The White House applauded the efforts of the demonstrators in a statement Tuesday night and demanded that House Republicans "put politics aside" to pass immigration reform.
"The enthusiastic demonstration of support for immigration reform this week has proven to Congress that the broad coalition behind commonsense solutions to our nation`s broken immigration laws is as strong as it has ever been," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
Tuesday`s rally, officially called "Camino Americano" ("American Road") follows events in more than 100 cities across the US 8 lawmakers arrested at US immigration rally on Saturday to make a similar push for comprehensive immigration reform.