Hundreds of immigrants and immigration supporters from eastern Pennsylvania—some traveling from Norristown—came together at Philadelphia’s Love Park on Saturday to champion their ethnic diversity and to send a message to congress that a vote on comprehensive immigration reform is needed now, according to a 32BJ SEIU union press release and a 32BJ SEIU email to Patch.com.
The rally was part of a national effort called the National Day for Dignity and Respect, where immigration reform activists in 160 cities called for immigration reform that includes a pathway for citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
The Philadelphia rally participants later marched to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building at 17th and Callowhill, as part of the National Day for Dignity and Respect
Rallyers from civil rights organizations, labor organizations and religious organizations joined immigrants from various regions, such as Asian immigrants and Latino immigrants to travel to Philadelphia from as far as Wilkes Barre, the Lehigh Valley, Gettysburg, and more, in support.
Twenty-three-year-old Sara Navarro left Honduras for the U.S. when she was 12. She received a Deferred Action status but the future of her multiple siblings here is less clear.
“When I was in Honduras, I used to hear my friends and family talking about the USA. I knew that my parents were there and I wanted to be with my parents. I also heard that this was a land of opportunities for all. At age 13 I learned that this country was not a land of opportunities for all but only for some. I witnessed the deportation of my brother in law and my uncle. My sister was left alone with an eight month-old baby. After this experience my family and I have lived in fear, anguish,” said Navarro.
The rally follows a recent action by democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives to advance a bill for comprehensive immigration reform.
Supported by the Pennsylvania representatives Allyson Schwartz and Matt Cartwright, the House democrats have offered a proposal that follows passage of a bipartisan Senate bill for immigration reform from the summer.
From here, a group calling for immigration reform will gather for a rally and concert at the National Mall in Washington, DC on Oct. 8.