Organizers estimated that over 100,000 immigrants and supporters flooded the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol April 10—a weekday—demanding comprehensive immigration reform. Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., were part of a national day of actions that also included rallies in cities like Atlanta, San Francisco and New York City. Chants of "Si Se Puede!" and "The Time Is Now!" reverberated off the Capitol throughout the spirited rally, which was in no way dampened by the extreme heat.
The crowd hailed from across the country and was notable for significant mobilizations by unions. Communication Workers of America, Service Employee International Union, American Federation of Teachers and others all had large contingents. While the rally was largely made up of Latino workers, workers' groups from across the world were present, in particular from several Asian nations, as was representation from the African-American community. The diversity of the rally was a strong counterpoint to the racist, anti-immigrant forces that seek to pit Latinos and other immigrants against “citizens.”
The most consistent theme of the rally was the immediate need for immigration reform, and to not allow any reform that would open the door to breaking up, or stopping the reunification of, families. Several congresspersons and senators spoke and reiterated the right-wing demand for more “border security” as part of an immigration reform package. Despite this, the overwhelming sentiment among attendees was the need for the more than 10 million undocumented immigrants in this country to be brought from out of the shadows.
The ANSWER Coalition attended the rally holding a banner demanding “Full Rights For All Immigrants!” The message was well received, with many stopping to take pictures in front of our banner.
Legislators in Congress continue to craft bills that consign large numbers of immigrants to a second-class status and focus on militarizing the border. But the April 10 mass mobilization signaled that immigrant workers and their supporters have the power to become a decisive factor in this struggle.
Full Rights for All Immigrants Now!