May 1st Rally at Union Square

May 1st, 2010
Luis R., walk

New York City – Hundreds of people gathered yesterday in Union Square to protest against Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law.  The scene was filled with people, young and old, standing tall with friends and families by their sides to promote hope and faith.  Students, community leaders and many young people were in attendance.  Thousands of immigrants have come to The United States with dreams of a better life, good education for their children and above all, freedom.   Yesterday’s protest was in part to show that there is still faith in those dreams.  One protester was quoted in saying, “This entire country was founded by people from different nations.  The US cannot be a hypocritical nation now by saying that the doors are closed”.

Many young people were there to show their support of a bill sponsored by Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) named “The Dream Act”.  The Dream Act is a bipartisan bill that is designed to provide legalization assistance to students who were brought into this country illegally.  “Children who were brought into this country when they were very young had no choice in coming here.  This is the only country they know and to deport them would be a crime against humanity”, states New Jersey resident Keith Leonard.

The issue of illegal immigration is a very emotional one.  Families are filled with fear and angst over the uncertainty of the future of immigration law.  A young child named George, while watching the police come towards them, was overheard saying to his mother, “Mommy, we have to run, the police are coming and they will deport us out”.   In an interview his mother, Ms. Carmen said, “I still cannot understand or explain how people can be arrested just because of how they look.  It’s like we have learned nothing from past civil rights movements”.  Others were carrying banners and wearing signs on their clothes stating, “Do I look illegal to you?”.

While the Arizona law is laden with flaws and downright promotes racial profiling, many protesters agree that it has accomplished one positive goal.  That goal is to put the issue of immigration back into the forefront.   Citizens and immigrants all over the country are calling on President Obama to keep a promise he made during his campaign, to help undocumented immigrants get on the path to citizenship.  When asked about Arizona’s new immigration law, President Obama was quoted in saying, “It is a violation of civil rights”.

Mr. Magallan from Tepeyac, an NYC organization adds, “The real economic stimulus is immigrants.  There are many reasons to legalize undocumented immigrants.  They give more to the country than they take.  They pay taxes, they create jobs, they help to substitute retired workforces, so why can’t they have rights?  We should all be treated equal.”

While the immigration issue is sure to be a long and involved battle, one thing is certain.  Immigration is a hot topic issue.  Over one million people are estimated to have participated in protests across the nation yesterday in support of legalizing undocumented immigrants.  Now that our economy has turned a new leaf for the better, the President will have to sit up and take notice of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are demanded to be treated as contributing members of society.

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