Despite the government shutdown closing national parks and monuments across the country, thousands of people congregated on the National Mall today to call attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The event, “Camino Americano: March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect,” began around noon and ended with a march to the Capitol.
Groups across the political spectrum gathered to hear first-hand stories, celebrate culture, and demand Congress take action on immigration reform. Today’s attendees included concerned local, faith and union leaders, immigration activists, and members of Congress. The rally garnered attendance from both Democrats and Republicans leading the charge for immigration reform. Members included Senator Bob Menendez, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Raul Grijalva, Janice Hahn, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and David Valadao – all of whom echoed the fact that a flawed immigration system is a disservice to our nation, and that “the time is now” to enact change.
As the march on the Capitol began, hundreds of people were arrested in an act of civil disobedience – including members of the House of Representatives.
While Congress and the White House continue the battle over government funding, immigration activists remain committed to ensuring that immigration reform does not fall to the wayside.
President Obama took heat for Tuesday’s rally in light of earlier reports that confirmed the World War II monument was closed to our nation’s veterans. Event officials were allowed to proceed with the immigration rally based on first amendment rights.
Comprehensive immigration reform continues to be a divisive issue amongst the Republican Party, although the likelihood of passing any significant legislation seems unlikely during the 113th Congress. Despite the holdup, the Republican commitment to expanding Hispanic Outreach remains steadfast, with the RNC reporting yesterday the addition of seven new field hires to increase Hispanic community engagement across the country.