Weeklong Immigrant Rights Protest Continues Outside Home of VP Harris

Oct 25, 2021
1:26 PM

A protest sign outside the U.S. Naval Observatory, home to the official residence of Vice President Kamal Harris, Sunday, October 24, 2021 (Pablo Manríquez/Latino Rebels)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A small group of immigrant rights activists has been camped outside the home of Vice President Kamala Harris since last Thursday.

For five days, protesters have been drumming, blaring boom boxes, dancing, giving speeches, chanting, meditating, and performing talent shows near the main entrance to the U.S. Naval Observatory, where Harris lives with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff at Number One Observatory Circle, the official residence of the vice president.

Sixteen diverse activists, mostly Asian, were approaching 100 hours straight of protest when Latino Rebels arrived on the scene late Sunday morning. The group drew honks of support from drivers along Massachusetts Avenue.

The protesters’ demands of Vice President Harris are specific, articulated in signage lining streets adjacent to the vice-presidential compound which “DISREGARD THE PARLIAMENTARIAN” and “WE DEMAND PERMANENT STATUS” in shades of green.

“Relief is defined only as a pathway to citizenship, and nothing less,” said Glo Choi, an organizer with National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (Nakasec).

“It’s not just on the vice president,” Choi said about overruling the parliamentarian to pass immigration reform in the Senate. “But it is up to the presiding officer of the Senate, who is likely to be the vice president, which is why we’re here in front of the vice president’s house.”

“If Kamala Harris is going to use her story as a daughter of immigrants,” said María Mayela Rocha-Carrillo, another Nakasec organizer, “then she needs to look at who voted her into office, because a lot of Latinos are putting their lives into her promise … [This can’t] become another administration running for office using our immigrant stories to their benefits [that] then fails us every single time.”

Alex Howard-Fuentes, who worked for the Obama administration, encouraged the protesters as he walked by with his dog Cosquillas.

“This administration is closer than the Obama administration ever was to passing meaningful immigration reform,” said Howard-Fuentes, who now lives in the neighborhood. “Kudos to the protestors. I might join them later.”

Dr. Kate Sugarman, the supervising physician for the Sunrise Movement, dropped by the Naval Observatory from another protest in Lafayette Square in front of the White House, where she had been monitoring the health of five hunger strikers in their fifth day without eating.

“WILL I HAVE A HOME” was written in red block letters across the forehead of one hunger striker who sat in a neat row of wheelchairs, each occupied by a young protester with a sign that said why they were on a hunger strike.

One of the signs was in Spanish, held by the protester with the question on her forehead. Her sign read “EN HUELGA DE HAMBRE PARA VIVIR.”

“These kids are sick,” said Dr. Sugarman. “They’re losing weight. They’re putting their health in danger. Please don’t forget them when you vote for the budget.”


Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports