Hundreds of thousands of people banged drums, waved U.S. flags and marched in a protest Sunday urging federal lawmakers to pass immigration reform that would legalize an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Shouting “Si Se Puede!” — Spanish for “Yes, we can!” — the marchers crammed into the downtown streets. They included families pushing strollers with their children and ice cream vendors who placed American flags on their carts. Many wore white clothing to symbolize peace.
Police estimated the crowd at 350,000 to 500,000. There were no reports of violence.
It was among several demonstrations that drew thousands of protesters Sunday in New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Alabama, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California.
“If we don’t protest they’ll never hear us,” said Oscar Cruz, 23, a construction worker who marched among the estimated 50,000 in San Diego. Cruz, who came illegally to the U.S. in 2003, said he had feared a crackdown but felt emboldened by the large marches across the country in recent weeks.
In Birmingham, Ala., demonstrators marched along the same streets where civil rights activists clashed with police in the 1960s and rallied at a park where a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. stands as a reminder of the fight for equal rights and the violence that once plagued the city.
“We’ve got to get back in touch with the Statue of Liberty,” said the Rev. Lawton Higgs, a United Methodist pastor and activist. “We’ve got to get back in touch with the civil rights movement, because that’s what this is about.”
Organizers in St. Paul, Minn., were surprised by the crowd — police estimated 30,000 — calling for change at a rally at the state Capitol.
Republican rhetoric abouit deporting all 11 million illegal aliens, making illegal entry into the US a felony, and criminalizing those who assist illegal aliens has the Hispanic community in Texas up in arms. As I have mentioned here before, Texas is a minority-majority state now (one of the reasons Tom DeLay shoved mid-decade redistricting down out throats).
If they keep this up Republicans can kiss Texas and our 32 electoral college votes goodbye.