Top immigration hardliners in Congress clashed with protesters outside of the Supreme Court on Monday, as justices took up President Barack Obama’s directive to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) lectured the protesters, who chanted “We want justice” and booed loudly while he tried to speak from a podium at the base of the court’s steps.
“Why are you all yelling?” said King, who was yelling into a microphone himself. “You want to be citizens of America? And conduct yourselves in a fashion where you try to shout down someone who is exercising their right to freedom of speech? Do I need to start reading the Constitution from the First Amendment?”
News conferences sponsored by the Tea Party and FreedomWorks also featured Reps. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), as well as other speakers who unsuccessfully tried to lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and “America the Beautiful.” An effort to lead a singalong of the national anthem backfired when the singer forgot the lyrics midway through, drawing jeers.
Organizers for the pro-immigration protesters wore fluorescent vests to create a human chain around the hardliners’ press conference, a move that may have prevented a more direct confrontation. At one point, a FreedomWorks organizer accused the protesters of trying to unplug their speaker.
Gohmert was greeted with chants of “racist.” It was “ironic,” Gohmert said, that people come to the United States for better opportunities, “and yet once here, they want us to be like the country they came from, where they don’t enforce the law evenly across the board.”
— Matt Hildreth (@mhildreth) April 18, 2016