The clock is ticking down on the number of days left in 2013 for Congress to enact legislation, but not even the government shutdown could stop a long-planned rally to put pressure on Congress to pass immigration reform. The Senate passed a comprehensive bill in June, but the House has been stalling. Conservative representatives are determined to stop any measure which would allow immigrants who are here illegally to stay in the U.S.
Capitol police made scores of arrests for alleged acts of civil disobedience during the rally, including eight members of congress who counted themselves among the protesters.
"Camino Americano: March for Dignity and Respect," as the rally was called, lasted from noon through the early evening. The event consisted of a march, musical performances by Los Tigres del Norte and Lila Downs, and speakers such as legendary civil rights activist Julian Bond and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat.
"Those of us who have the piece of paper and peace of mind that ensures our return home tonight to our families must fight for those who do not have that piece of paper or that peace of mind," Gutierrez said, in a speech made a few hours before he was arrested along with other protesters.
A full roster of speakers included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and proponents of immigration reform from both parties such as Gutierrez, Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican from Florida.
The rally was the last in a series that had taken place across the country during the summer and in the weekend just before the demonstration on the Mall. Protesters stopped traffic around the Capitol, and members of the country's largest labor unions assisted with crowd control.
In spite of the closure of memorials and monuments during the government shutdown, the demonstration was permitted on First Amendment grounds. Organizers had estimated that tens of thousands would attend. However, obtaining an accurate count was impossible, as Capitol Police were not answering the phone.
If you or a loved one is in need of a green card or other immigration paperwork, make sure you find legitimate, experienced legal help to navigate the mountains of forms and red tape that are often required.
Source: latino.foxnews.com, ""Thousands Rally For Immigration Reform, Eight Members Of Congress Arrested"" Elizabeth Llorente, Oct. 08, 2013