More than a score of people were arrested Monday at a peaceful vigil staged in front of the White House to protest deportations and support immigration reform that would regularize the status of millions of illegal immigrants.

The protest was organized by the United Methodist Church and was supported by immigrants and activists, who turned out to sing hymns and pray for those who decided to stage the protest despite warnings from law enforcement on the north lawn of the White House.

After cordoning off the zone, National Park Police officers moved in on horseback and escorted the 20 protesters or so who remained in place away from the area.

The religious people who turned out began to pray, sing and shout "No more deportations!" and "Two million are enough" - referring to the number of people deported since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 - until they were arrested one by one.

The demonstrators had announced that they intended to provoke authorities to arrest them by this act of civil disobedience, which they wanted to use to express to Obama their desire that he stop all deportations as long as immigration reform is not approved.

The opposition of Republicans in the House of Representatives has prevented the bipartisan immigration reform agreed to in the Senate last June from moving forward.

The demonstrators on Monday criticized Obama for not doing enough to achieve reform. EFE