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Immigrants Show Force at Rally Against Federal Policy
Immigrants rights activists kicked off a day of protest yesterday with an energetic rally that culminated in a march through the heart of the Mission District. Participants included a broad coalition of representatives from almost every major immigrant group in the city, all of who lashed out strongly against an immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate. Competing proposals include a house bill that would make felons out of both illegal immigrants and those that provide these people services, as well as a Senate compromise that could provide work permits and opportunities for citizenship for some of nation’s 11 million immigrants. Those at the rally stated unequivocally that immigrants have played a positive role in the U.S., and deserve federal policy that supports their plight rather than criminalizes them.
While the ultimate outcome of the Congress’ current debate over immigration reform remains unsure, yesterday immigrant groups maintained the strong message they’ve been sending to Washington – that their contributions to the country’s economy and culture demand they be treated as equals.
“The U.S. government has forgotten that this country was built by the blood, sweat and tears of immigrant people of color,” said Eloise Lee of the Filipino Community Center.
Lee, a Filipino who works with Filipino youth, declared her community’s support in the struggle for pro-immigrant policy reform. Joining Lee were groups with members from Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia, all of which emphasized unity as a vital weapon in their quest for change.