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Protesters Storm Stage, Disrupt Rep. Luis Gutierrez Speech at Refugee and Immigrant Conference

by Michael Patrick Leahy

NASHVILLE, Tennessee–Protesters shouting “liberation not integration” stormed the stage at the National Integration Immigrant Conference on Tuesday, disrupting Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) as he was about to deliver a speech to the gathering, eyewitnesses tell Breitbart News.

As Breitbart News reported previously, the conference is a gathering of refugee and immigrant advocates meeting to plan opposition to the refugee and immigration policies of President-elect Donald Trump.

A spokesperson for the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), one of the two hosts of the conference, confirmed that Gutierrez’s remarks were disrupted.

“Congressman Gutierrez gave his remarks as scheduled after a brief demonstration,” the NPNA spokesperson told Breitbart in an emailed statement.

“As you can imagine, some attendees here are scared, worried, angry and stressed. We understand that things like this happen in a democracy, especially in uncertain times like these,” the spokesperson added.

One eyewitness who was present at the conference when the disruption took place offers a more detailed version of the event.

“A group of mostly non-black activists started screaming about black immigrant rights and rushed the stage blocking the speaker [Rep. Gutierrez] with a banner that said ‘What About My Family?,’ ‘Black Immigrants,’ ‘What About Sex Workers, LGBTQ Folk, Muslim Immigrants, Criminalized Immigrants?,’ and ‘Not 1 More Deporation,’” the eyewitness told Breitbart News.

“They [the protesters] accused conference organizers of working with multi-nationals to exploit workers, and they started shouting ‘liberation not integration,’ ” the eyewitness added.

Breitbart News asked Rep. Gutierrez, a long-time advocate of granting amnesty to illegal aliens, for comment but received no reply.

According to his biography on the conference’s website, “Rep. Gutiérrez is nationally recognized for his tireless leadership championing issues of particular importance to Latino and immigrant communities.”

He has been at the center of every major legislative debate on immigration reform and immigration issues for more than a dozen years. He played an instrumental role in advocating for executive action by President Obama to provide deportation relief to long-term undocumented immigrants and their families. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – and a series of executive actions announced in 2014 – are partly the result of Congressman Gutiérrez’s consistent and persistent advocacy in Washington.

Gutierrez was scheduled to speak after a morning session entitled: And Justice For All: The State of Black Immigrants and the Movement for Black Lives.

Last week, Gutierrez told CNN “he won’t be attending the inauguration of President-elect Trump in January, because of his plan to boost enforcement of U.S. immigration laws,” the Washington Examiner reported:

“I’m not going to this inauguration, I can’t go to this inauguration, because he continues to spew hatred, bigotry and prejudice even after he said he was going to bring us all together,” Gutierrez said on CNN.

“But he’s not,” he added. “He continues to spew this kind of … hatred. So I’m not going to be there.”

He did say, however, that he would be in Washington on Inauguration Day to march with people who will be there protesting Trump’s presidency.

As Breitbart News reported previously, CitiGroup, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, is a major sponsor of the three day National Immigrant Integration Conference that winds up in Nashville on Tuesday.

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