The Coalition for Economic Justice joined a growing group of labor, faith, and community leaders and elected officials in the United States Capitol today to call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Hundreds of advocates were arrested after acting in civil disobedience to urge congressional leaders to take immediate action to support reforms that include a path to citizenship and strong worker protections for immigrants.

JD before rally

The executive director of the Coalition for Economic Justice, Jennifer Diagostino, was one of the advocates arrested on Tuesday in the nation’s capitol for acting in civil disobedience to highlight the injustice of the U.S. immigration system.

“Immigration reform is an urgent issue for millions of individuals seeking basic rights and dignity” Diagostino said. “It is time for Congress to fix our broken immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship and workplace rights that will bring our country’s vulnerable workers and families out of the shadows, hold bad employers accountable, and raise the floor for all workers.”

The U.S. Senate passed an immigration reform bill in June 2012 that included access to citizenship and provisions strengthening worker rights. Last week, Congressional members introduced a bill that includes worker protections as a central piece of immigration legislation.

“We applaud the bill introduced in Congress, but it is critical that House leadership act now and pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation,” Diagostino said. “Our nation’s broken immigration system has taken too much of a toll on all workers and working families. For too long, we have allowed employers in this country to use immigration as a wedge to divide their low-wage workforce. That needs to end today. It’s time for our nation’s leadership to do the right thing and pass reforms that will protect allworkers.”

The demonstration on Tuesday followed a series of nationwide rallies, town hall, and other actions in 15 cities to demonstrate the urgent need for immigration reform.

“There is a growing movement calling for justice and dignity for workers and families who are being exploited by our broken immigration system,” Diagostino said. “We will not be silenced until our nation’s leaders fix this system by adopting meaningful immigration reform.”