March 27th, 2010
09:04 PM ET

Thousands rally for immigration reform

Thousands of people rallying for immigration reform poured through several downtown blocks in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, many waving flags or carrying signs.

"Stop prosecuting our race," one sign read. "Reform not raids," said a banner held by several people as they stretched across a large portion of a road. Some banged drums, and the sound of noisemakers pervaded. American and Mexican flags were common.

The protesters are urging lawmakers and President Barack Obama to move forward with immigration reform legislation - expected to be the president's next big task following this week's passage of the health care bill.

Saturday's event, which was organized by a coalition of family, labor student and community groups, follows a similar rally on the National Mall in Washington earlier this week.

Obama spoke to the crowd there by video on Sunday, saying he will do everything in his power to reach a bipartisan deal within the year.

"You know as well as I do that this won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight," Obama said. "But if we work together across ethnic, state and party lines, we can build a future worthy of our history as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws."

The demonstration in Washington coincided with smaller rallies in cities such as Denver, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona.

Four years ago, then-President George W. Bush supported a bipartisan effort to overhaul U.S. immigration laws, proposing a path to legal status for the estimated 11 million people currently in the United States without authorization. But those measures were criticized as establishing "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, and legislation Bush supported died with a Senate filibuster - one led by members of his own party but joined by more than a dozen Democrats.

This week's immigration rallies followed the recent publication of a new plan backed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. The plan would create a "tough but fair" path to legalization, as well as a temporary worker program and tighter border controls, the sponsors wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece.

"I don't think it's any different than what the proponents have been pushing since the Bush administration, which is a path to amnesty for those who have broken the laws of this country," Colorado Republican state Sen. Ted Harvey said at the Denver rally.

Obama called the senators' plans promising, and said it "should be the basis for moving forward." He called on Congress to act on that plan at the earliest possible opportunity.

The president's push on immigration also helped secure a key vote for his health care bill. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, announced his support for the bill after receiving a commitment to move forward on immigration "as soon as possible."

-  CNN en Espanol's Juan Carlos Arciniegas contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Immigration • Politics
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Richard Syarr

    These illegal immigrants have destroyed their own country with their lifestyles and value systems. Now they are bent on coming to my country. This will result in the poisoning of the American way. When are the American people going to say its enough ! ! If Mexicans are here legally they need to be aided in starting a new life after the learn the language.

    March 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daryl Minor

      I'm a legal American citizen and I must show my ID when:

      1. Pulled over by the police.

      2. Making purchases on my department store credit card.

      3. When I show up for a doctor's appointment.

      4. When filling out a credit card or loan application.

      5. When applying for or renewing a driver's license or passport.

      6. When applying for any kind of insurance.

      7. When filling out college applications.

      8. When donating blood.

      9. When obtaining certain prescription drugs.

      10. When making some debit purchases, especially
      if I'm out of state.

      11. When collecting a boarding pass for airline or train travel.

      12. when you go to vote.

      I'm sure there are more instances, but the point is that we citizens of the USA are required to prove who we are nearly every day!

      Why should people in this country illegally, be exempt!!!!!

      Why shouldn't we guard our borders as closely as every other country in the world does?

      June 20, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jerry

    Round 'em up, ship 'em back, and put machinegun nests and sniper towers every thousand feet along the entire Mexican border.

    Illegal immigrants are, by definition, criminals. They're not rich, famous, or serving in elective office but they seem to get the same "pass" on punishment for their illegal acts as those people do, while being an even larger drag on the American economy. Lock 'em up. Send 'em back. Shoot 'em as they sneak across the border. We American Citizens deserve and demand no less!

    March 27, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andres Garzon

    We need IMMIGRATION REFORM now! it's a humane reform from thousands of people living in the shadows and at the same time we need to secure our borders.
    Thanks so much

    March 27, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Peter M. Hemming

    It seems like 2005 again with the rallies popping up all over. Maybe the novel which included an African American president and emboldened illegal immigrant insurgents was a precursor after all. "Uncle Juan's Cabin" is back to the future!

    March 27, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sreedhar

    First govt. Should look into legal immigrants who stud in line since few years, paying taxes and adding value to the economy

    March 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    11,000,000 may be 20,000,000 and they will all be on subsidized Obama Care because they are all going to work cheaper than the poorest Americans. It's very sad to see the end of the America of our fathers highjacked in the name of globalization and multiculturalism. The fall of America, the rise of India and China. Look north and see the same changeing demographics in Canada that are in fact todays new age colonialism. English as a second language because it's not important enough to have to speak it first. civilizations have life spans/cycles like every other living organism on our planet. It ended for the British Empire after the World Wars. No one, can live forever but it's sad to see it squandered so soon by a greedy few.

    March 28, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. no illegal aliens

    Why would you give amnesty to thieves, robbers, drug smugglers, trespassers and invaders? Those listed above are criminals, they broke the US laws by entering the US territory illegally and now they want US governement giving anmesty and blessing for their acts. What kind of justice is this? Why did the US government always supporting, protecting those who break the US laws and those who screwed up? It's funny that the illegal alien criminals are demanding their right to become US citizen. Deport all of them now before they multiply like flies and suck up all the US Tax payers money.

    March 28, 2010 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Esperanza

    I pray that the Obama adminisration has the guts to stop all this Mexican invasion.

    March 28, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. ramtruck2500

    I have no problem with Obama so get over that for petes sake. I do have a problem with known criminals – Illegals. They are here yes should they have any rights other than to go absolutely no! Get them out and fine the damn employers who always have these criminals working for them. They are all frauds and liars extraordinaire! The damn burst started by Reagan continues. Its undercutting wages jobs and stability. Local cost are soaring, think of the huge additional cost of this damn Bi ling. crap costs? For petes sake just stop it . Man talk about something we should have never done

    March 28, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kim P.

    I have trouble welcoming people as new citizens of my country when they start out by blatantly disregarding the laws of the country, then move to "working" the system to gain benefits and citizenship that Americans get to pay for, and last but certainly not least, who then refuse to bother to try and learn the language and insist that they be given everything in their native language. Those who simply wish to recreate their own cultures intact, changing nothing except the setting and economic conditions, are not here to contribute anything to this country and do not deserve to be here.

    March 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Muchacho

    When the United States had an open frontier and labor storages, the country offered open immigrantion. Only the brave and hardy showed up and build this country. Their lives were full danger, tragedy, hard work – but freedom. Our hertiage is one of people who are makers, not takers.
    Today, the frontier is settled and paved with highways. Labor is abundent and unemployment is high for our citizens. We have an immigration policy that is quite liberal in light of our own cicumstances and compared to other developed countries.
    Amnesty is wrong legally and morally. No doubt, there iis heart break with each deportation – but that is no different than the heartbreak of a family whose member is a theif that is sent to prison.
    Finally, with the Obama wave of socialism, we cannot afford to pay for the education of illegal alien children and for their health care. Be assured that the gross underestimate of utililization in Obama-Care is going to create massive deficits. We do not need additional billions of deficits by allowing more "takers" to stay illegally in our country. .

    March 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bill

    we need to have an open season on the coyotes that bring them accross

    March 28, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ObamaIsGarbage

    I think its important to note and acknowledge that these so called "Mexicans" are only part of the problem because there are plenty of south and central Americans here illegally. There are also asian as well as african illegal immigrants.

    Its wrong to generalize these people, I do not condone illegal immigration but a lot of these people are hardworking human beings. I am not advocating amnesty but to say that we should "lock them up and ship them" is not only inhumane because it breaks up family but also incredibly costly. Good look finding the resources to lock and ship over 12 million people. Idiots.

    March 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sherri

    Yes, we need immigration reform. We need to get the illegals out of our country.Their country is screwed up. That's why they come here. Illegally! They are criminals. Get them out! Deport them now. If they can't do that one thing right – come here legally – then they do not deserve to be here, sucking us dry.
    Enforce our borders. Build whatever it takes to keep them out. Quit courting them.
    If you read any polls, you will see that the majority of Americans are against this. And aren't we the ones who vote, pay taxes etc?
    My family came here legally. Look what's happening in Mexico. Do we want that here? NO!

    March 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin McFadden

    Can someone please tell me how someone can fight for the right to stay in a country they entered illegally?

    A lot of organizations are pushing for immigration reform that will allow most illegals to stay, i.e., The Restaurant Owners Association, because they can get cheep labor! The woed "amnesty" should not even be used in such discussions. Add, those politicians of hispanic heritage, democrat or republican, have shown that they are willing to clog the political process as well in order to speed up the discussions on immigration.

    It's all a cluster!!!!!

    March 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
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