Erika Andiola Confronts Rep. Loretta Sánchez Over Protest Arrests (VIDEO)

A grainy video tweeted to us tonight from the National Queer and Trans Latin@ Alliance shows immigration rights activist Erika Andiola confronting Rep. Loretta Sánchez (D-CA) about the arrests of immigration protesters made yesterday in Sánchez’s DC office.

Another tweet shows a picture of Sánchez and Andiola talking during what appears to be the confrontation at the #womentogether immigration reform 2-day fast:

In the video, Andiola begins by asking Sánchez whether the California Democrat would support the undocumented youth who were arrested in her office, since “they’re still in the detention center right now.” Andiola suggested that the youth could face deportation. Sánchez looked eager to answer the question but Andiola did not give up her mic, so a another mic was given the Sánchez. Here is a very rough transcript of what Sánchez said on the video (the audio quality is a bit poor at times):

Sánchez: “The answer is, first of all, I was on a plane, so I wasn’t in my office.”

Andiola: “Your staff arrested them.”

Sánchez: “No, the staff doesn’t have arresting authority. The police came, the police came because they were disrupting the office.”

Andiola: “And letters of support?”

Sánchez: “We have given plenty of letters of support, that’s the first thing, and the second thing is, when you get arrested in Washington, D.C. for a protest, for all your information, usually you just go over to a little holding place [inaudible] and then you sign that you won’t be back or whatever. They don’t send you to jail. Okay, they don’t send you to jail.”

Andiola: “They are right now.”

Sánchez: We [inaudible] the people right now that they want to go to jail. They made the decision of being in the holding thing…

Andiola: No.

Sánchez: And finally [inaudible, some loud voices] (Sánchez starts walking away)

Unidentified voice: Will you ask for their release?

Sánchez: I would ask for it, but unfortunately, and you know this, they’re all in the system. This is a problem, when people…

Then the video shows Sánchez leaving.

Those close to the action tweeted that the protesters were all released this afternoon:

Meanwhile, two of the protesters detained shared their own thoughts on Twitter:

Earlier today, Sánchez’s Twitter profile sent out these tweets:

UPDATE: Sánchez has issued a statement:

I was on a flight from California to Washington, DC, when a group of activists began protesting in my DC office. I always appreciate when young people want to come and have their voices heard. Because I was not there my staff offered to meet with them, but the protesters refused. When the protesters refused to engage in meaningful dialogue and became disruptive by chanting loudly and sitting on the floor in our meeting space, my staff made the determination to call support from the Capitol Police. The protesters were given repeated offers from the officers and individuals within their own organization to leave without arrest, but unfortunately chose not to leave. I have formally responded to a letter the protesters left behind and I hope it conveys what really matters – that I am on their side.

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