At the rally on the National Mall today pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, one congressman thanked the president for letting protesters gather. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.) called on the crowd to thank “the administration at this time of shutdown for allowing us to be here today, to celebrate here today.”
He then added: “And let me also ask all of us — join us in making sure, asking the administration, to make sure that other folks, other folks, particularly those who fight for us to give us the right to live in freedom, our veterans, to also have the right to use our public facilities, our public parks. So let’s all join in making sure that we thank our veterans, thank our men and women in uniform, and make sure they have access like we have access here today.”
Organizers for the event told me beforehand that it is allowed as a First Amendment activity. That’s the same rationale that was given on Tuesday when WWII veterans were allowed into their memorial. Request for a follow-up from Diaz-Balart’s office on whether or not the Obama administration specifically gave permission to the immigration group to protest wasn’t returned; per a receptionist, their press contact is furloughed.