Activists March From Virginia to Capitol Hill to Demand Immigration Reform

DREAMers, community and civil rights leaders march to the Capitol to urge Congress to pass reform with a roadmap to citizenship and to halt deportations.


(Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Nov. 20) – Today, activists from across the Washington, DC metropolitan area, backed by Virginia’s immigrant rights organizations, marched from Virginia to Capitol Hill, to urge lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship and workers’ rights.

Determined to show Congress that public pressure will not relent, the activists departed this morning from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, and walked towards the Canon House Building in Washington DC.

“We walked six miles as a pilgrimage to the Capitol to pray for the congressmen who have ceased to work on reforming the immigration system. We want to show that Virginia is watching,” said Edgar Aranda, President of Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO).

Just last week Republican House Speaker John Boehner announced that his party will not go to conference with the Senate to negotiate an immigration bill.  By marching, Virginia’s immigrant community is showing that it will continue to demand its elected representatives like Majority Leader Cantor push Speaker Boehner to support immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship and workers’ rights.

“The people walking with us face the realities of our broken immigration system every single day. We want to let our Congress know that that the work that has started and it will continue until our elected leaders pass immigration reform,” said Hareth Andrade-Ayala, a DREAMer and community activist.

The march occurs just a week before Thanksgiving. Some of participants said that due to indiscriminate deportations, they won’t be able to spend this holiday with close family members.  Leaders and organizers seized this opportunity to call on congressional leaders and President Obama to stop deporting more than 1,000 people every day.

“DREAMers, parents and other United We Dream leaders from across the country converged today on Capitol Hill today to send a crystal-clear message to GOP leadership in the House and President Obama:  it is time to act and stop the moral crisis in our communities caused by out-of-control deportations,” said Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of United We Dream.

“As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, too many immigrant families will have an empty place at the table for a loved one who has been taken from them.  Will Speaker Boehner finally show some political courage and give us a vote so our families no longer have to live in fear of separation? Will President Obama finally stop deporting our families?”

Deportations have created a broken status quo that disproportionally affects families. The human cost of deportations—for families, for communities, for the country—is incalculable. Ingrid Vaca, United Families organizer and DREAMer mother, described their struggle: “We have seen our sons and daughters suffering for their parents. It is our responsibility to fight to keep our families united.”


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