New York Congressman Joe Crowley, Co-Chair of the Friends of Ireland group in Congress, was arrested at an immigration rally in Washington on Tuesday evening.

Crowley, who represents Queens, was one  of  eight Democratic congressmen held. It was the first time Crowley has been arrested. Fellow New Yorker Congressman Charles Rangel was also taken into custody.

“I am proud to be standing with my colleagues and dedicated advocates, we are helping to give  voice to those who would otherwise have none,” Crowley said in a speech before his arrest. But his arrest and that of other House Democrats was slammed by Republican senator Jeff Sessions.

“There’s something odd about House leaders...protesting on the Mall to get jobs for illegal aliens and pushing legislation to reduce job opportunities for US citizens,” said Sessions (R-Ala.)

“The House must resist calls to replace struggling workers and instead fight for the public interest and to restore our shrinking middle class.”

The event was held as an effort to force the GOP into action on immigration reform. A bill has been stalled in the house for several months.

The New York Daily News reported  Rangel argued with the officers and asked they loosen his cuffs while further “arguing about the process.”

Meanwhile, about 40 Irish activists met at the Irish consulate in New York last night to discuss strategy on immigration issues.

The meeting is one of several convened by Irish diplomatic personnel across the U.S. seeking to impact the immigration debate.

A decision was made to approach GOP congressmen in the Tri State area who have not made clear their stance on immigration reform.

There are an estimated 50,000 Irish citizens illegally in the U.S.

Midwestern Irish are expected to attend a meeting in Cleveland, Ohio this weekend.