WASHINTON--Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) told CNN's Kyra Phillips on Wednesday his arrest outside the White House on Tuesday was "well worth it."
Gutierrez noted that last Thursday, Obama "spoke at the probably oldest and most memorable civil rights organization in the Latino community here in the United States, National Council of La Raza. And he once again told the audience there was nothing he could do, skirting his responsibility and the broad discretionary powers that the president has to grant relief on immigration issues. And when he said he couldn't do it, the audience just responded, Kyra, saying, yes, you can, yes, you can.
"And so yesterday, we were there to say our immigration system is broken, it has a destructive corrosive effect on families. There are four million American citizen children, some of them were left without parents yesterday, some of them will be left without parents today. That's wrong. The president has the ability. Twenty-two U.S. senators have implored this president to say to a million DREAM eligible immigrant young men and women, don't deport them."
Did Gutierrez get what he wanted? He was fined $100 and released.
Replied Gutierrez, "I think what is important is that when you see actions of the government that are having this kind of destructive effect on families -- look, Kyra, I have to tell you, I know that there is a soldier in Chicago who is being sent to Afghanistan. We were able to limit the deportation of his wife for one more year. We need to tell that soldier, you can be free to go and give us our freedom in Afghanistan, and guarantee that without us deporting your wife.
".....You know -- you know what, you do raise the issue. It's an issue that is important. And if my denying myself my own personal liberty and putting my own body and my own reputation at stake so that we can raise the issue, it is well worth it. And I think we did do that."