Tens of thousands of immigrants, many carrying U.S. flags, marched into downtown Chicago on Friday in a show of support for immigrant rights.
The protest comes as the U.S. Senate struggles with a bill to stiffen border enforcement and a new report estimates the illegal immigrant population has grown from about 8.4 million in 2000 to nearly 12 million.
Shouts of “Si se puede” (Yes, it can be done) could be heard throughout city streets as marchers descended upon the plaza across from the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, where they listened to speeches voicing support for pro-immigrant legislation.
“Raise those American flags!” U.S. Rep Luis Gutierrez shouted. “This is our country, and this is where we will stay.”
Attendance at the rally exceeded by far the original estimates. The original estimate was around 5,000 people. They’re now saying it was as many as 100,000.
If anyone’s curious about what my own views on immigration (legal and illegal) are, I’ve posted them here.
CHICAGO, March 10 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Mexican and other immigrants held a massive rally in Chicago on Friday to protest proposed changes to U.S. immigration laws.
Waving flags and carrying signs reading “We’re people, not criminals” and “Working hands do not deserve handcuffs,” they streamed on foot into the downtown area, overwhelming a square at the federal court house where the rally was held. Chicago police said from 75,000 to 100,000 people were involved in the march and rally. The target of the protest was legislation sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year and is being considered in the U.S. Senate along with competing proposals. His bill would make it illegal to assist an undocumented immigrant, something that priests, ministers and other social workers have said would turn those who routinely help immigrants into criminals. Critics have said the legislation would stiffen punishments for millions of illegal immigrants currently in the country without creating a way to set them on a path to citizenship.
Chicago Police say over 100,000 protesters were in the Loop Friday afternoon for a massive protest in Federal Plaza. They were demonstrating against proposed legislation the some feel of unfairly tighten immigration laws.
The border security bill would make it illegal to assist any undocumented immigrant. That measure is drawing the attention of numerous groups and lawmakers on both sides of the issue.
We’ve been hearing for weeks that there is going to be a rally and immigration march and we were told there would be a few thousand people. According to police reports, it’s more like 100,000. The individuals ABC7 talked to said, no, it’s hundreds of thousands of individuals that came out.
Thousands rallied Friday against the passage of Bill HR-4437, the Border Protection Anti-Terrorism And Illegal Immigration Control Act. Many believe the bill targets the immigrant community in the name of immigration reform.
“We love this country and that’s why we came here to have a better life and that’s why we’re here to make a peaceful statement to say that we want to be here. We are here to work and we’re not here to take anything from anyone,” said Norma Cormago.
Protesters came from across the Midwest to show their support. One busload came from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“We are fighting to be legal. We’re in this country not to destroy it but to make it rich with whatever it is that we can,” said Alberto Calvillo, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Traffic was tied up throughout Chicago’s Loop Friday afternoon as the city hosted the largest march of Latinos ever recorded in the country.
Nearly 100,000 demonstrators were said to be in the Loop for a march and rally downtown protesting a proposed law that could send illegal immigrants to jail.
The U.S. flag and banners from Mexico, Honduras and many other countries were flying above thousands of supporters of immigrants rights gathered at federal plaza for the rally.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez told the crowd that immigrants are here to stay. And the Illinois Democrat pledged to work to block a controversial bill that would drastically strengthen immigration laws.
“Shut the Senate down until you get the voice of immigrants who work so hard,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich got a loud cheer from the crowd when the told them in Spanish that immigrants aren’t criminals, they’re workers. The governor said that he’s proud to support immigrant rights.
And Chicago Mayor Richard Daley told the crowd that everyone in America is an immigrant and that no one should turn their backs on new immigrants now.
Speaking from the podium, Daley said, “Do not allow anyone to tell you that you’re an immigrant. Everyone in America is an immigrant.”
NBC5’s Lisa Tutman reported from amidst a huge crowd in Union Park, at Ashland Avenue and Lake Street, where the crowd gathered for hours Friday morning.
(CBS) CHICAGO Crowds marched through the city on Friday to rally against HR 4437 – The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005.
Supporters of the bill before Congress say it beefs up border protection. But thousands of people in Chicago’s Latino community call the pending bill a blatant violation of rights.
When the march started at Union Park at Ashland Avenue and Lake Street, there were already tens of thousands of people.
But as CBS 2’s Rafael Romo reports, at the end of the day, organizers say it was more than half a million protesters. Police estimated the crowd at 300,000.
“I’m definitely surprised to see this many people,” said protester Cesar Garza. “I expected a small amount of crowd, but this is… wow! I’m really surprised.”
Many of the protesters were immigrants who took the day off work to attend a rally in opposition to HR 4437, a federal bill that — in part — makes it a criminal act to help illegal immigrants.
Most marchers were Hispanic, but there were also people of Irish, Chinese, and Polish ethnicity, among others.
The main goal of the march was to protest a bill in Congress that would mandate criminal action against anybody who helps an illegal immigrant.
You can also see the delicacy of this issue by the terminology used in the reporting. Yours truly went through this while working on two metropolitan newspapers in writing special series on immigration reform under Ronald Reagan and bilingual education’s impact and actual results. Some editors prefer to use the term “illegal aliens.” Others, “undocumented workers.” The middle ground is “undocumented immigrants.” And the phrase that’s selected not actually reflect the preference of a given editor but a judgment on the paper’s readership.
Nothing like a true immigration enforcement bill to bring illegal alien activists out of the shadows. The crowd protesting the House GOP border security and interior enforcement bill H.R. 4437 in Chicago today was massive–estimated at 75,000:
Lonewacko thinks that the media coverage is biased and poorly informed.
Rights for convicted criminals! Rights for illegal aliens! What about the rights of taxpaying and legal citizens? Yeah, right.
Watching these people flood the streets of Chicago today, shouting angrily for what is not theirs to ask, let alone demand, I listened. Amid the shouts of “Si, se puede!” and among the signs and banners calling for legalization and guest worker programs, I listened.
I listened for an answer from within myself and found that, walking along with these thousands of people cheering and yelling and demanding, my answer hadn’t changed.
No, you can’t.
This issue, to me, is a no-brainer: you want to come to America? Fine. Do it the proper way. Go through the proper channels, fill out the paperwork, get your greencards and your visas, and come to America. I have no problem with that one bit. I’d prefer, once you get here, that you work towards becoming a full-blown citizen (like they did in the old days), but I won’t push it that far.