Five Arkansans Arrested during Dream Act Rally in D.C.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Five Arkansans made the 20-hour drive back to the capital city Thursday after being arrested in the nation's capital Wednesday. 

The group from Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC), including two DACA recipients, rallied for the Dream Act alongside thousands of young immigrants on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

"What do we want? Dream Act! When do we want it? Now!," protesters chanted in a live video the organization posted to Facebook. "Undocumented, unafraid!"

After three warnings from police, not one protester backed down so officers arrested nearly 200 of them, including the five from Arkansas.

"There were people there that have privilege who were standing up for people like me, for the Dreamers, for the DACA recipients," said Maria Meneses.

Meneses and Xiomara Caldera were in the frontline, arrested alongside Congressman Luis Gutierrez, D-IL.

"He's one of the few leaders we have who is actually willing to participate," Meneses said. 

In the short time they were detained, about 30 minutes, the two learned a lot from the congressman, including why they should run for office themselves.

"It was interesting what he explained to us, essentially like community organizing and not us working for ourselves but for the community," Meneses said. 

After nearly two hours of detainment, Armando Reyes, Michel Rangel and Diana Pacheco were reunited with Meneses and Caldera. They each had to pay a $50 fine.

"We're out," the group told their viewers in another Facebook live video. "Thank you so much for your support." 

They said donations to AUCC covered their legal fees.

"We're willing to go to these extents to get their attention to actually do something for us because it's simply not fair for them just to speak and not take action," Meneses said. "They're supportive but they're not taking action, the necessary action to back their word."

Meneses and her friends did not get to meet with any member of Congress from Arkansas but hope their action forces lawmakers to do the same.

AUCC plans to hold forums throughout the state to keep the momentum going.

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