Breaking News: Women Take Over GOP Whip’s Office
Women and immigration advocates vow to continue fighting to get immigration reform passed this year
Rep. McCarthy met with 13-women delegation locked inside his office at 11 p.m. but refused to sign pledge to push for a House vote on immigration reform in 2013
Bakersfield, CA − On Wednesday, a women-led delegation staged a sit-in at House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield, chanting, singing and refusing to leave until McCarthy signed a pledge to advance comprehensive immigration reform in the House. Simultaneously, more than a hundred people, including immigration reform advocates, farm workers and new immigrants, rallied outside the congressman's office and held vigils in support of the women.
The women and their families had come from California's Central Valley, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area to urge Congressman McCarthy, who is the third most powerful lawmaker in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, to take immediate action to bring a comprehensive immigration reform bill to a House vote.
After McCarthy's office closed for the day at 5 p.m., a group of 13 women refused to leave. For hours, police denied the women access to food, water and medication. Despite this, the women endured for an additional six hours until finally, they succeeded in luring the House Majority Whip out of his home at 11 p.m. and engaged him in conversation about his lack of leadership in advancing immigration reform. The sit-in concluded with his reassurance to the women that he is “serious about solving the problem” but refused to sign pledge to push for a House vote on immigration reform.
United Farm Workers leader Lupe Larios, who was among the women locked inside the congressman's office, said McCarthy promised to tackle immigration reform during this congressional session, which ends in 2014, but discarded the possibility of passing immigration reform in the House by the end of the year.
"We appreciate Congressman McCarthy 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. As one of his constituents and voter, we don't want to hear more excuses as to why it can't be done this year," Larios said.
"Immigration has been debated for 13 years in Congress, two thirds of the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation. When will the House vote on legislation? Earlier this year Republican House leaders have suggested votes in July, then September, then October, and now we are being told "later". The problem with the "later" is that it never comes," she said. MORE: For full news release click here