Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was confronted by proponents of the democratic Build Back Better bill who followed her as she entered a public restroom on Sunday morning.
A video posted on the Twitter account of Living United for Change in Arizona, or LUCHA, an immigration reform advocacy group, shows activists following Sinema on her way out of a classroom at Arizona State University. After she declines to speak to them, they follow her into a bathroom.
“We knocked on doors for you to get you elected,” a woman filming the encounter who identifies herself as Blanca is heard saying after the senator enters a stall. “And just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us.”
“I was brought here to the United States when I was 3 years old and in 2010, my grandparents both got deported because of SB 1070,” Blanca said before explaining that her grandfather passed away in Mexico two weeks ago and, due to current immigration laws, she was not able to visit him before his death. “I’m here because I definitely believe that we need this pathway to citizenship.”
In the video, Sinema does not engage with the activists as she is seen exiting a stall and washing her hands.
“It has required a tremendous amount of bravery from this young organizer to fight for her family and tell her story to her Senator,” LUCHA told The Arizona Republic in an email on Sunday. The organization confirmed the interaction happened Sunday morning.
Sinema has “denied our requests, ignored our phone calls, and closed her office to her constituents. She hasn’t had a public event or town hall in years,” the email from LUCHA said, “No one wants to meet with their senator in the restroom.”
“She is the one blocking a path to citizenship, deportation protection, paid family care, climate justice, lower drug costs and so many other things we need,” the email said in reference to the Democrats’ efforts to pass the 10-year $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act. The legislation includes funding for free community college, Medicare expansion, extended child tax credit, paid family leave and efforts to combat climate change.
Democrats need the vote of all democratic senators to pass the bill. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema both said they would oppose the legislation due to its high cost.
Immigration reform is not part of the Build Back Better bill after a bid to include it in the legislation was rejected for a second time this week by the Senate parliamentarian.
After it failed, LUCHA announced a campaign to pressure Democrats to include immigration reform in the bill and create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“We are not dignifying this behavior with a response,” Sinema spokesperson John LaBombard said in an email to The Arizona Republic on Sunday.
As of Sunday evening, the video had been watched more than 2.8 million times.
Reach breaking news reporter Julie Luchetta at email@example.com.
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