Tens of thousands were estimated to have participated on Oct. 5’s National Day of Dignity and Respect for immigrants. More than 150 events and actions in 40 states were held. The national movement for immigration reform culminated yesterday in Washington, D.C., with tens of thousands gathering at the National Mall to march and call on Congress to act swiftly on comprehensive immigration reform.
The rally was organized by a coalition of immigrant rights groups and labor unions and featured speeches from dozens of politicians, including Bob Menendez and Nancy Pelosi, who recently joined Democratic members in introducing a new comprehensive immigration bill modeled on the Senate’s already-passed proposal.
At the end of the rally, a group of 200 gathered to protest by locking arms and blocking streets. The civil disobedience was part of the “Camino Americano Rally and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect.”
“We know the votes are there,” Gutierrez said at the rally. “They know the power of our vote, they know the popularity of immigration reform, they know the hunger and passion in our community, and yet we still have not seen immigration reform signed into law by the President because other Republicans are holding it up.”
The members of Congress arrested included Gutierrez, John Lewis, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Joseph Crowley, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, and Rep. Charles Rangel. They joined 200 others who were arrested as part of a “civil disobedience” event in front of the U.S. capitol.
According to U.S. Capitol Police, the members of congress and others arrested, were charged with “crowding, obstructing, and incommoding.”
As of early Wednesday morning, all of the demonstrators arrested at Tuesday’s rally have been processed and released.
Despite the government shutdown, comprehensive immigration reform is still very much a key topic of debate for Congress. With House Democrats moving forward on this issue by introducing their own version of the immigration reform bill and with Republicans continuing discussions as well, it is clear that this issue remains a top priority.
It’s up to us to keep the pressure on our elected officials to act on immigration reform. Please continue the fight by contacting your local representative to let them know how important this issue is and to show your support at local events and rallies.