On Wednesday, April 10, just the day before AILA’s National Day of Action kicked off in Washington, DC, tens of thousands of protesters marched on the Capitol in support of immigration reform. Advocates came by foot, car, bus, train, and plane from all over the country. They held signs telling their stories, or the stories of those dear to them, as they called on Congress to make real change happen this time.
Political momentum seems to be in favor of a bipartisan immigration reform agreement, with the Gang of Eight continuing their work and expected to release a bill perhaps as early as next Tuesday that will offer a path to legalization for the undocumented, and hopefully an overhaul of the patchwork of dysfunctional immigration policies that make up our legal immigration “system” as well. I’ve been working in immigration law for over 30 years. I lived through the hope and dismay of 2006, 2007 and 2010. Amid this march and all the echo events across the country, with the polls and the politicians seemingly lining up in favor of reform, I feel more encouraged than ever.
Reform seems to be within reach. It’s clearly different this time. You can almost feel it in the air. A newfound courage by key Congressional leadership from both sides of the aisle, being cheered on by Evangelicals in the South, business and trade organization leaders in our financial hubs and industrial cities, moms and dads throughout America’s heartland, all rallying together and recognizing that we can no longer be indifferent.
For those of you who want to have your say, tools to reach out to media are available on InfoNet which I encourage all of you to personalize and use to share the real impact of immigration reform and what it can mean for families, the economy, and our nation. Photos from the rally are also posted on AILA’s Facebook page.
Washington, D.C. itself seemed to welcome the marchers with gorgeous early summertime weather and blossoming trees. Let’s hope Congress listens to its leadership and also welcomes the voices of immigrants and their champions and shows us all what good policy looks like.