Saturday, March 11, 2006

INB 3/11/06: Thousands Rally in Chicago, DC

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 9, No. 9 - March 11, 2006

1. Thousands Rally in Chicago, DC
2. Senate Committee Debates Bill

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499; INB is also distributed free via email; contact to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at


Immigrants and supporters marched and rallied in Chicago on Mar.
10 to demand legalization for out-of-status immigrants and oppose
anti-immigrant legislation currently being considered by the
Senate. Organizers estimated the crowd at 130,000, while Chicago
police estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people took part, making it
one of the biggest pro-immigrant demonstrations in US history,
according to national advocates. The march was dominated by
Mexican immigrants but also included Irish, Polish, Chinese and
African-American participants. The protesters stepped off shortly
after noon for a two-mile march to Federal Plaza, followed by a
2pm rally; The march was so long that many participants had not
yet reached the plaza when the rally ended at 4pm. [Chicago
Tribune 3/11/06; La Jornada (Mexico) 3/11/06 from wire services]

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley
were among the politicians who spoke at the rally in favor of
immigrant rights, along with US Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a
longtime advocate for immigrants. According to a report in the
Chicago Tribune, whole shifts of workers left their jobs in
Chicago and the surrounding areas, and thousands of students
walked out of class to attend the demonstration. At one school,
Farragut Career Academy in Lawndale, about half the 2,500
students walked out en masse after attendance was taken at
10:40am. [CT 3/11/06]

Three days earlier, on Mar. 7, tens of thousands of immigrants
and supporters demonstrated in Washington, DC to urge the Senate
to pass legislation providing out-of-status immigrants with a
path to citizenship, and to reject the harsh anti-immigrant
provisions in HR 4437, the bill sponsored by Rep. James
Sensenbrenner (R-WI) which passed the House of Representatives
last Dec. 16. [Scripps Howard News Service 3/7/06] The rally was
organized by the National Capital Immigration Coalition, which
said the crowd was far larger than the predicted turnout of
20,000, with possibly as many as 40,000 participants. US Capitol
Police estimated that the rally drew at least 5,000. [Washington
Post 3/8/06; Washington Times 3/8/06]

Hundreds of participants arrived in the capital by bus from New
York City, Baltimore (Maryland) and Richmond (Virginia).
[Richmond Times-Dispatch 3/8/06; El Diario-La Prensa (NY) 3/8/06
from correspondent] Some 500 participants arrived on buses from
Georgetown, in southern Delaware, the center of the poultry
processing industry. Many of them had attended a massive
immigrant rights rally in Georgetown last Feb. 14 [see INB
2/18/06]. Parishioners from Catholic churches in Seaford and
Georgetown collected more than $3,000 over the weekend of Mar. 4
to pay for the buses. [News Journal (Wilmington, DE) 3/8/06]

Clergy from the Jewish, Catholic, Quaker, Episcopalian,
Methodist, Muslim and other faiths protested the bill with a
prayer service at the Washington rally and a press conference
earlier in the day; clergy are particularly incensed over a
provision in HR 4437 which would impose sanctions on anyone who
assists undocumented immigrants in any way. [Christian Post
3/8/06; WT 3/8/06]


On Feb. 24, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chair of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, released his 300-page immigration "reform"
proposal, an attempt to compromise between opposing factions in
the immigration debate. Specter's "Chairman's Mark" includes many
of the same harsh provisions as HR 4437, along with a "guest
worker" program for migrant workers; the plan would not provide a
path to citizenship, and immigrants already living here would not
be eligible. [NYT 2/25/06]

On Mar. 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee began marking up the
bill; they continued on Mar. 8 and 9, voting on Mar. 9 to add
provisions to build new barricades on the US-Mexico border and
hire 12,000 new Border Patrol agents over the next two years. A
fourth markup session is scheduled for Mar. 16. The Judiciary
Committee is trying to finalize the bill and send it to the full
Senate for a vote by Mar. 27; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
(R-TN) has threatened to move forward with his own "enforcement-
only" version if that deadline is not met. [Los Angeles Times
3/10/06; Arizona Republic 3/10/06; News Journal 3/8/06; WT
3/10/06; Message from Prerana Reddy 3/3/06]

Organizers of the Chicago and Washington rallies are mostly
supporting the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, co-
sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), as
an alternative to Specter's proposal. [CT 3/11/06; Catholic News
Service 3/8/06] The Kennedy-McCain bill includes provisions for
border security, temporary worker visas and family reunification.
It would require efforts by foreign countries to help control the
flow of migrants, cover the costs borne by hospitals that provide
emergency care for undocumented immigrants, promote citizenship
and take steps to prevent fraud. [CNS 3/8/06]

Rights advocates are urging people to call their senators to
express support for immigrants--including a path to citizenship--
and opposition to harsh enforcement provisions. Anti-immigrant
forces are apparently flooding senators with calls. More
information is available from the American Immigration Lawyers
Association (, the Immigration Forum
( and the Rights Working Group
(, among others. [Immigration Forum
Action Alert 3/3/06; Message from Prerana Reddy 3/3/06; National
Immigrant Solidarity Network 3/10/06]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted:
they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity
Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible
contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J.
Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

No comments: