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Hundreds Rally For Immigration Reform In West L.A.

Gracie Zheng |
April 10, 2013 | 7:17 p.m. PDT

Senior Staff Reporter


Latino, Asian and African American community organizations gather at Westwood Park before marching for immigration reform on Sepulveda Blvd. Wednesday. (Gracie Zheng/Neon Tommy)
Latino, Asian and African American community organizations gather at Westwood Park before marching for immigration reform on Sepulveda Blvd. Wednesday. (Gracie Zheng/Neon Tommy)
Anthony Ng, 24, a native of the Philippines, came to the United States with his grandmother, older brother and sister when he was 11. They came here on a tourism visa. 

“We’re going to visit Disneyland.” That was the only thing he knew before this trip. 

Ng’s parents came four months before him in the hopes of seeking a better life for their children.

More than ten years passed. Ng graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine. His father went back to the Philippines for cheaper health care after he got sick. His mom is still undocumented. 

Ng can work legally in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects certain undocumented youths from being deported. But it doesn’t lead to permanent residency or citizenship. 

“In the Asian American community, immigration status isn’t something we talk about. That creates a sense of shame,” he said. “Because it’s a family business.” 

On Wednesday, Ng, now an advocate for immigrant rights at the Asian American Legal Center, was joined by hundreds of community members and activists from Latino and African-American communities, as well as labor unions, to rally for immigration reform in West L.A.

ALSO: Marco Rubio Slows Immigration Reform Talk

They gathered in Westwood Park carrying banners and signs in Spanish, English, Korean and Chinese. Some of the posters read, “The time is now for citizenship” and “Keep families together”. The crowds chanted “immigration reform now," as some beat drums and gongs while walking two blocks down Sepulveda Blvd. to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office on Santa Monica Blvd.

About 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States, according to a 2010 estimate from the Department of Homeland Security. Eighty percent were from the North American region, about one million were from Asia. 

“Don’t be a passive passerby to what’s happening,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein from Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), an association of religious leaders. Klein urged Sen. Feinstein to be a champion of the ongoing reform and reminded her of her identity as a granddaughter of an East European immigrant. 

Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.) has been one of the more progressive and supportive senators for immigration reform. She has taken the lead in negotiating an agricultural visa with growers and farmers labor unions.

“I support the DREAM Act, and I support an agriculture workers immigration reform bill with an earned path to citizenship,” said Feinstein in a statement. “Bottom line: I am a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform.”

ALSO: Photo Essay: A DREAMer's Journey For Health Care

Over the past few months, advocates around the nation have become increasingly eager for Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Thousands rallied in Washington D.C. for a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants Wednesday afternoon. 

“We will not turn our backs on the millions of people yearning to be free, yearning to be Americans,” said Stewart Kwon, executive director of Asian Pacific American Law Center. “Twenty years is too long, 10 years is too long. We want families united now.”

Comprehensive immigration reform has become a top priority for the Obama administration since the election last November, when he was reelected by over 70 percent of both Latino and Asian-American voters. 

A bipartisan commission of eight senators is expected to reach an agreement and unveil a proposal of immigration reform legislation on Thursday, according to media reports. The bill would include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a new visa program for low-skilled workers and additional border enforcement measures.

“We will not stop until we win the comprehensive immigration reform,” said Mike Garcia, president of SEIU United Service Workers West. 


Reach Senior Staff Reporter Gracie Zheng here, Follow her on Twitter



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