15 Dreamer protesters arrested on Capitol Hill

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., flanked by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., left, and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., join a group of Republican lawmakers to encourage support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program​, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(ABC News) — Hundreds of protesters gathered inside the Hart Senate Building Thursday morning chanting “Dream Act now…Dream Act now” in hopes of persuading members of Congress to act on the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

U.S. Capitol Police said 15 protesters were arrested.

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Protesters were holding banners to pressure Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, to pass legislation in support of so-called Dreamers. The banners were seen hanging on the upper floors of the Hart Senate Building.

Bruna Bouhid, the national communications director at United We Dream, a nonpartisan immigrant youth-led organization, said it is an insult that Ryan sees no urgency in passing legislation.

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“Today’s protests were a way of calling out Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan,” Bouhid told ABC News. “Congress has neglected to pass legislation, even with signs of bipartisan support.”

The Trump administration announced in September it was terminating the DACA program, which allowed children who were brought to the U.S. illegally to remain in the country and be eligible for work permits if they meet certain requirements.

The program was implemented under the Obama administration.

Related Content: GOP senators say fate of ‘dreamers’ must wait for next year

Twenty GOP House members also urged Ryan to act on immigration legislation that could protect the nearly 800,000 Dreamers.

The lawmakers said efforts to grant such deportation protection can easily pass the House if GOP members joined Democrats to back any immigration bill.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she does not intend to have Democrats leave for the year without a Dreamer bill set in stone.

“I have to see what the spending bill is, I fully intend we will not leave here without the Dream Act passed,” Pelosi said.

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