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U.S. Immigration Reform Takes National Stage In City Streets

Jacqueline Jackson |
April 11, 2013 | 8:45 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer


 Jacqueline Jackson
Jacqueline Jackson
As part of Wednesday's National Day of Action thousands involved in the movement to transform America's immigration policy gathered throughout the nation to participate in a rally demonstration. 

In D.C. thousands traveled to the nations capital and here in Los Angeles hundreds gathered for a demonstration held outside of Senator Diane Fienstein's office Wednesday and in various other locations. The demonstration including members of multiple immigrant rights groups including: Coalition of Pathway to Citizenship,CHIRLA, Dream Act Groups, Labor Groups & Community Organization. Council of Mexican Federations, APALC, SEIU and many others.

The demonstration was a crucial effort and final push to bring awareness to immigration reform and sway policy makers who have yet to make a decision. Currently the reform policy sits closer to decision than ever before and "protestors" made it clear why as they chanted, "We are family, I got all my brothers with me, we are family. We are family, I got all my sisters with me" and " What do we want, immigration reform. When do we want it, Now!" the most powerfully and hopeful chant was "Si Se Puede". 

According to one "rally participant" the time to make changes is now. Alejandra Valles, SEIU United Service Workers - Vice President said,

" We are out here because Sen. Fienstien sits on the judicial committee and she has a lot of leadership and voice within the committee to get comprehensive immigration reform passed" she said, " We are looking for a pathway to citizenship and nothing less."

This statement and the rally's across the nation come at a pivotal moment in immigration reform history. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that members of the Bipartisan senate group are expected to announce a proposal to overhaul the nation's immigration system this week. The proposal, which could include a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants, is one of the key reasons why thousands are marching in the National Day of Action. 

Senator Diane Fienstein is one of the deciding members on the proposal and people took to the streets surrounding her office to discuss the importance of better immigration policy. 

However, Feinstein herself made a statement this Tuesday, According the Washington Post she said, " she had reached a “tentative agreement” with negotiators on a dispute between farmworkers and growers on how to handle the massive numbers of illegal immigrants employed by farms. She declined to explain the details but said it is considered the last key policy dispute in the immigration talks, declaring that “the train is leaving the station." 

Students at the National Day of Action from Loyola Maramount and other universities were excited to be a part of the movement and focused on building a brighter dream for the future.

One student told Neon Tommy, " The Dream Movement is at the local, state and national level. " he said,  "We have to take into consideration that there is a direct impact to schools. Some of the workers who work at university's are undocumented students. They work in our dining halls, janitorial services and we believe they should have the opportunity to be legalized." He added that the importance of family is at the root of this cause, "We want to remind people that our families deserve to be legalized as much as we do. " 

Even though Sentaor Marco Rubio has expressed concern in regards to the new policy, as of this week, a spokesperson for him reminded the public of the need to review the proposal without a time constraint, he told the Washington Post

“Senator Rubio has said from the outset that we will not rush this process, and that begins at the committee level,” said Alex Conant, Rubio’s spokesman. “The Judiciary Committee must have plenty of time to debate and improve the bipartisan group’s proposal. . . . Senator Rubio will be requesting that his Senate colleagues arrange multiple public hearings on the immigration bill. We believe that the more public scrutiny this legislation receives, the better it will become.” 

2013 has brought up the discussion of immigration reform on a brand new scale. From the NBA’s recognition of the U.S. Latino population with the " Noche Latino" campaign to the removal of “illegal immigrant” from the AP Style Book this year has come with a few steps forward towards reform and citizens and non-citizens alike are all watching in hopes that America moves towards better immigration policies that incorporate ways to not only gain citizenship but aid in the growth of our economic and educational sectors.

The immigrant groups at Senator Fienstein's office in Los Angeles were also joined by two other groups in their efforts for reform. Another set of demonstrations begin at the Van Nuys Civic Center and ended at Rep. Brad Shermans office. The organizations that participated in the days events included: The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) and Hermandad Mexicana. The Vice President of Asian Pacific American Legal Center ( API Fire) Karin Wang echoed the need for family and solidarity. She told us Wednesday, 

"We are here because we feel that Asian Americans were left out of the dialogue locally and nationally. We really wanted to make a statement that we care and this impacts us and we are watching. We were the biggest voters in 2012 and 82% of Asian Americans chose who they voted for based off their stance on immigration." 

As APALC chanted at the beginning of the march Wang emphasized that all of this was to remind politicians we are watching their decision closely, she said, 

"We are here to protect and serve families unification and we are hoping that by being here its strength and numbers and we want to make sure senators don't forget our communities when they come out with their bill this week."

Although Pew Center released a report Monday that Gun Control is receiving more interest than immigration there is no doubt that millions are following it not just in America but across the world.

The landmark decisions on immigration  are expected to be announced later this week.

For up to the minute coverage on immigration reform check out Neon Tommy's coverage here

Reach Executive Producer Jacqueline Jackson here.

Follow her here @JayCaliLA



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