Thousands of pro-immigration reform activists rallied in front of the U. S. capitol this week. Many activists said they were hoping that Congress would pass a comprehensive immigration law.
The House and Senate are deciding on a bill that will provide a plan for the legalization of undocumented residents.
Over 500 people from Vamos Juntos, the New Sanctuary Movement, the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition and several other organizations represented the Philadelphia contingent of the rally.
One longtime activist of immigration reform in Philadelphia, Carmen Marcet, spoke about the significance of the rally. “A while back when I was organizing there was about 12 people with me, now you look at us today and I am so proud to be in D.C., with so many people from our city,” she said.
The protesters held signs that read, “The time for immigration reform is now,” and yelled slogans of “Yes, it is possible” in Spanish, “Si, se puede!”
Several members of Congress spoke along with leaders, activists and community organizers from all across the nation.
However, not everyone was in favor of immigration reform laws. A group of 20 people stood on the outskirts of the rally with signs that read, “Secure Our Borders,” along with other posters that read “No to illegal Aliens.”
One member of New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement, Jim MacDonald, said, “There’s a right way to immigrate here and a wrong way and my ancestors did it the right way.”
A community organizer of the New Santurary Movement, Blanca Pacheco said, “I would say people like him are lucky that their ancestors came to the U.S. when immigration laws were not as strict as they are now.”
Pacheco, who has now become accustomed to replying to anti-immigration reform protesters continued, “People are coming here for jobs and many are fleeing troubled countries. They don’t have the money to go through the legal process of immigration.”