Two protesters were arrested Saturday after they interrupted speeches by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the Iowa Freedom Summit.
The summit was a gathering of high-profile conservatives, many of them weighing a 2016 presidential bid, in Des Moines.
The first interruption was during Perry’s speech. Marco Malagon, a Texas resident who came to the country illegally when he was young and benefited from the Obama administration’s “dreamer” reprieve, shouted: “Governor, do you stand with King, or do you stand with us and our families? Do you think I’m deportable?” A dozen other protesters stood up with signs that read, “DEPORTABLE?”
The signs were in reference to the event’s organizer, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and a tweet he sent out during the State of the Union speech where he referred to a guest of Michelle Obama as “a deportable.”
“We are here today sending a message to the GOP presidential candidates, like Perry, that if they are serious about 2016, they need to stay as far as possible from Steve King and his hateful actions towards us,” Malagon told reporters.
He and Cesar Vargas, who interrupted Christie, were arrested.
While Perry did not acknowledge any of the protesters, Christie wisecracked back.
“Don’t they know I am from New Jersey? This stuff doesn’t bother me one bit,” he said.
Vargas told reporters that immigration is a “central issue” for Republicans.
“Events like the Freedom Summit further illustrate how out of touch the Republican Party is with the growing Latino and immigrant population in the United States. Do they really want to deport me and my mother?" Vargas asked.