On Sunday, May 1, nearly 200 Long Islanders gathered in Hempstead to march for immigration reform.
Many of those in attendance had participated in last year’s mass immigrant mobilizations. In conversations with marchers, I found that many were disappointed in the solid opposition of conservatives to any compromise on immigration reform in 2010.
Several participants said that last year they had expected the passage of the DREAM Act, or some other bipartisan bill. With hundreds of thousands of immigrants taking to the streets during the 2010 campaign for reform, they wondered what more could be done to pave the way for legislation in the future.
Organizers told me that they don’t expect any immediate action by Congress on the immigrant rights agenda, but they do expect action from President Obama.
At the march, I spoke with Nadia Marin-Molina of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) about meetings President Obama has held recently to try to jump-start immigration reform legislation:
“Most people believe that immigration reform legislation is not going to pass,” she told me. She said that Obama’s emphasis on trying to go through Congress again was “more like an attempt to gain Latino support for his administration than a serious effort to pass a bill.”
Marin-Molina echoed what I heard from others at the rally: “Obama should be doing more administratively to address the problem,” she said. “He can use his administrative powers to stop the mass deportations and halt the expansion of Secure Communities.”
Dozens of other immigrant rights rallies were held in cities around the country.
Image from the rally in Hempstead:
Images from the rally in Manhattan’s Union Square, courtesy of Joselo Lucero: