Immigrant Rights march Chicago

I left work a bit early today to meet Katty downtown at the Federal Plaza for the Immigrant Rights demonstration. I didn’t really know what to expect. As I was getting off of the “L” I could hear the crowd of people. As I turned the corner I was greeted by a huge amount of people as well as the mounted police, as seen in the picture above.

As I continued onward, the crowd got thicker until it was difficult to move forward. Entire families had shown up, generation upon generation of Chicago immigrants as well as the 10s of thousands of people who came from out of town. It was literally a sea of people! Each of them with a smile on their face – thrilled to be participating in this historic event.

Katty had told me that they were expecting 20,000+ people – but the enormous crowd struck me. The police estimated 100,000! When the people cheered or chanted it reverberated through the streets of the city, penetrating the windows and walls of the surrounding office buildings. I couldn’t hear Mayor Daily or Senator Obama speak because of all of the noise.. but that didn’t matter. Seeing the Latinos, Irish, Koreans, Polish and others together in solidarity, peacefully marching and chanting, waving the U.S. flag as well as the flags of their own countries was enough – hope welled up inside of me.

As I assisted handing out flyers, I felt all of Chicago looking down upon us. I hope that this was a wakeup call to them as well, for they were looking at the people that help make this great city work. The throngs of people clogging up the arteries of Chicago – practically bringing it to a stop – serves as a metaphor to what could happen if bills such as HR4437 were to pass. Making undocumented immigrants and those who assist them felons is not a solution. We, the citizens of the United States, need to open our eyes and our hearts to those who are very much the same as our colonial ancestors.

Looking around the crowd today I couldn’t help but to imagine the birth of the U.S., where groups of people from all countries were welcome with open arms. Perhaps they too gathered in solidarity, peacefully waving the U.S. flag.

With the distant sound of media helicopters above the city, I await to hear the reaction of the rest of my fellow citizens – and I do so filled with hope.

12 thoughts on “Immigrant Rights march Chicago”

  1. Pablo, this was very moving. Thank you for telling us all about it–those of us who could not go. I’m sure it was a thrilling feeling and I hope it made others realize that “they” are “us.” None of us our Americans except the Native Americans–all of us are children of immigrants.
    I’m thrilled to see the “Next Generation” taking up the cause.
    Big hugs

  2. There is no such thing as “undocumented” workers.
    Foreign nationals who enter the USA illegally, who live in the USA illegally and work in the USA illegally are ILLEGAL aliens, they have no right to be in this country.
    Illegal immigrants are criminals who have violated United States federal laws, they have no respect for our borders with foreign nations, no respect for any of our laws, and no respect for the citizens and legal immigrants in this nation.
    By law illegal immigrants are to be deported.
    It is a CRIME to enter the USA illegally.
    It is a CRIME to live in the USA if you are here illegally.
    It is a CRIME to work in the USA if you are here illegally.
    It is a CRIME to hire an illegal immigrant to work any job, anywhere in the USA at any time.
    It is a CRIME to transport any illegal immigrant anywhere in the USA at any time.
    It is a CRIME to harbor, house or provide shelter to any illegal immigrant anywhere in the USA at any time.
    It is a CRIME to aid and abet illegal immigrants.
    It is a CRIME for any person in the USA to carry false identification.
    It is a CRIME for illegal aliens to use false ID to obtain employment in the USA.
    It is a CRIME to use a stolen social security number in the USA, it is a FELONY.
    ONLY legal US citizens and legal immigrants are issued legal social security numbers to work in the USA.
    Any social security number used by any illegal immigrant is a STOLEN social security number (whether it was bought on a street corner, obtained by use of a fake ID, made up or “borrowed” it is deemed by the USA SSI as STOLEN). The penalty for the crime of using a social security number which was not legally issued to you is 25 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
    It is a CRIME to work in the USA and not pay taxes.
    The ONLY rights illegal aliens have in the United States are:
    1. the right to be arrested for the crimes they have committed entering the USA illegally, living in the USA illegally and working in the USA illegally,
    and
    2. the right to be deported.

    DEPORT ALL ILLEGAL ALIENS NOW!

  3. Don’t think I really have an opinion on this one. I can see the view from both sides, but those that are anti-immigration seem to be a bit more combustible and agressive about the subject. I do have a hard time with people who refer back to the immigration of people from back in the 1700s, 1800s, and even early 1900s and applying to present day immigration policies. We live in a much different social climate than back then, the borders of nations are much more blurry in “age of information.” That being said, making them felons?! Seems way too extreme to me. No one can disagree that is a hot button subject which needs serious debate and discussion.

  4. So sequoia, why did California consider issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants?!? You may have to add that to their ‘rights’ in #1 someday… The Governator’s justification for his veto was that “This bill does not adequately address the security concerns that my Department of Homeland Security and I have, and I cannot support it”. Nothing about making it easier to deport them…

    And illegal immigrants have “no respect for the citizens and legal immigrants in this nation”. Pretty wide brush you’re using there in making your point…

  5. In response to sequoia’s comment, and as a ‘legal immigrant’ and someone who does not feel at all “disrespected” by my undocumented counterparts, I am just going to quote myself from a previous comment, because my opinon’s still the same… “No doubt that illegal immigration is a problem. However, Iā€™d say it’s more of a problem to the immigrant himself than to the US or any American, because of the conditions they come to live under and the abuse they have to take from employers, lack of rights, and living underground”. I tell all ‘sequoians’ out there, to punish the businesses that are making a hell of a profit by hiring illegal aliens instead of americans or legal aliens, because they are the ones giving jobs under the worst conditions AND the reason illegal immigrants keep coming. They know there’s a huge demand for work. So… quoting myself once more “the gap between immigration policy and reality is far too wide”. What if all illegal immigrants would go on strike for 48 hours? A mess. I don’t think mass-deportation is the solution at all. And as Katty said before, as much as 70% of illegal aliens PAY TAXES and never see a dime of that, while you do.

  6. A few things from my perspective…
    1. It’s absolutely awesome to see a peaceful demonstration in this country. I love it. I don’t care what it’s about.
    2. My persecuted and poor immigrant ancestors passed through Ellis Island, not a loose border. This is not the same thing, though I don’t think it is a felony either.
    3. How many Cubans are sent back to Father Fidel every year? They must love the notion that 20 million illegals live here because there is no natural aqua barrier blocking their entry. Europe would probably love it if we somehow diverted the stream to their borders. Of course, they’re in a major population decline.
    4. What if I decided to just stay in Thailand after this summer ended? Could I demand equal treatment with Thai citizens? Faster immigration policies? Higher wages? Health care?
    5. Our federal government’s priorities are to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Nothing in there about helping people who come here illegally. Reasonable measures should be taken to insure the safety of the citizens of this country before we figure out how to truly help immigrants seeking a better life as our ancestors did.
    6. 70% of illegal aliens pay taxes? I’m curious about that number, but the notion that they never see a dime of it boggles the mind a bit. What do you see from your taxes? Roads, infrastructure, defense of the USA and our allies, social programs, education, border control (wink wink)… do illegal aliens not see these benefits?
    7. Our European ancestors had pretty nasty hatred toward each other. We had various ghettos in cities early on, but eventually there was assimilation of culture and language to create what has become America. That’s my biggest concern right now–that illegals, partly because of that categorization and many other mitigating factors, are not assimilating. Many legal immigrants aren’t either. It’s the whole melting pot thing. You gotta melt a little here.
    8. Gov’t, the private sector, churches and the public need to work together on this. Can’t be partisan crap. Can’t use Hispanics as pawns.
    9. I’m all for an increase in immigration and getting people here already legally naturalized. But we gotta protect our borders as much as our shipping ports. We also have to do it rationally and without offending good people (a la Dubai Ports World).
    10. Early on in the US, Irish hated English, Germans hated everyone, no one liked Slavs, Blacks were property, and ethnic gangs ran rampant in major cities. The South hated the North and vice versa. Chinese were used as cheap labor to build railroads in the West. Many peoples’ names were truncated because someone couldn’t understand or spell. Ethnic groups were funneled into their burroughs and ghettos and weren’t welcomed at large by the American populace–especially people who’d been here since the 1700’s. It got better, but it takes time. This will too. Can’t rush into it which is sort of what has happened by the enormous amount of illegal immigration that has swamped the Southwest.

  7. MY OPINION APPLIES STRICTLY TO MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS. ALTHOUGH THIS ISSUE APPLIES TO MANY NATIONALITIES.
    1. Who are Americans? Seqouia? You probably are, but where are your ancestors from and how did you come to be an American? You are arrogant as well as a hypocrite. I am sure you drive 5 miles under the speed limit. I am sure you have never broken the law. I want to clarify that I am an American, Mexican/American, and we are not all arrogant. I hope that people like sequoia don’t put a stamp on all of the Americans that are not supporting the documentation of illegal immigrants. You may not agree, but you don’t have to be as disrespectful as sequoia.
    2. I am proud to live in the Chicago area, where we have sections of our city dedicated to our Chinese, Greek, Polish, German, Irish, Mexican… immigrants. We march on St. Patrick’s Day because we are proud to be a part of the Irish heritage. We don’t question our Irish immigrant’s patriotism, and we respect their homeland patriotism as well. Why, as people march to support our ancestors, does the USA ask them to leave their homeland flags at home? I drive home everyday and come across at least 5 flag poles where 2 flags fly.
    3. Yes, identity theft is a crime, but it still surprises me that we have completely blocked out the fact that SSNs are actually being sold by the owners of those SSNs. Seqouia, you hold yourself on a pedestal because you are the legal American citizen, but somewhere along the line, you have also broken the law. Maybe 10 over the limit. What country could I send you back to?
    4. I am proud to be an American, but have to be honest when I say that I am also embarrassed that the power house of the world (us), still allows for 1 SSN to work 10 different jobs at a time and for 5 different people to claim those taxes in 1 state. Our system lacks security and that should be a priority for our country.
    5. Whether or not our undocumentated workers are getting their tax benefits? I would have to say more then enough. That is one part of the discussion where I completely disagree with how the people are handling their appearance here. Paying taxes. Most pay a small portion. They claim 5 or more dependents(resulting in minimal tax payment pay period to pay period)and then don’t file. USA loses there. Welfare and Public Aid. Women for the past five years have dedicated themselves to breeding. They run to WIC and receive benefits. WHY? Because they claim themselves as single mothers. USA stopped giving SSNs to mother’s of those babies born here and then stopped giving SSNs to babies born here. You are no longer a citizen if you are born here. You have to be born of a legal resident as well. But then they still provide health benefits. Benefits that those of us who pay taxes pay for. Again our system lacks security. The borders is one issue. Putting fences up on the Mexico border and improving our national security are issues that run hand in hand, but should maintain their distance as well. Our national security obviously needs more attention than deporting hard working invididuals that have not committed any crimes other than coming to provide for their families.
    5. attempts to legalize, issue work permits, and even driver’s licenses are examples of false propaganda. immigration has been on the pallet for several years now. Elections have come and gone. California Governor Arnold, made many promises that got him elected and now he is anti-support for providing documentation.
    6. I dont’ know if reality has anything to do with it, but it’s time sequoia’s took a look around. Billions of dollars is spent on spanish translation; advertising, OSHA safety, manufacturing, services, Medical…every aspect of life is now in a minimum of 2 languages, spanish and english. everything you buy comes with a minimum of 2 sets of instructions. This provided because of the need. Immigrants made and make this country, illegal or legal. It just doesn’t make sense to make that illegal.
    6. If the US doesn’t ask itself why immigration has become such an uncontrollable problem, it could be the biggest mistake we make. Mexicans are able to travel the world with a passport, but not USA. why? Mexicans have been expanding their migration to Spain and are doing well. As mentioned in other replies, I imagine the European countries would hope for a portion of the work force that has come to the US to make our powerhouse of a country, stronger. Again, what is the point of the VISA. Why can’t they come with their passports, apply for a SSN and get a driver’s license? The harder we make it for them to come and provide for their families, the harder they will try. It isn’t a matter of luxury, it’s a matter of life and death. Providing a life for your children that they can be proud of.
    Imagine this Sequoia, your son/daughter/grandchild marries with an illegal immigrant. Your son is now a CRIMINAL. If anything, try to look at book sides of the situation, rather than being so narrow minded and arrogant. We can’t ask you to understand, because obviously you have different beliefs. We can’t ask you to agree either. But put down the gavel and count to 10. What do you think about the glass being half full or half empty. There’s always the other side. We need to know it exists.

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