Chicago will come out of the shadows today for a mass mobilization in support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Students and community groups will protest for changes in the immigration laws in support for a path towards citizenship.
The Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) working with community organizations for a mass youth-led immigrant rights mobilization in Chicago. They want to send a message to Congress and President Obama, who during the campaign promised to work on immigration reform in his first year in office.
Members will be coming out and openly identifying themselves as undocumented immigrants and telling their stories. Their strategy is to get the issue of immigration in peoples minds, and on the national agenda. In collaboration with the national youth-led network United We Dream, students and youth from around the country will be coming out of the shadows actions between March 10th and March 21st, starting in Chicago. The youths are calling for a community mobilization from Union Park to Federal Plaza, ending with a mass coming out direct action demonstration by undocumented youth.
This coming out of the shadows is meant as a call for leadership from Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who has been supportive of immigrant youth, but has not taken action to pass immigration reform this year. IYJL has also extended an invitation for a place at the table to the Senator, as well as President Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, so that they can hear the proposals for immigration reform from the people that are affected the most.
The Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition is endorsing the event
"There's a feeling that if not this year, then when? We can't wait any longer," said Tania Unzueta, one of the organizers of the Chicago march coordinated by the Immigrant Youth Justice League.
One of their goals is to renew pressure on Congress to pass the DREAM Act that would create a path to legalization for undocumented youth brought here by their parents. The DREAM Act was introduced by Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois and Rep. Howard Berman of California . Under the provisions of the DREAM Act, undocumented young people could be eligible for a conditional path to citizenship in exchange for completion of a college degree or two years of military service. Undocumented young people must also demonstrate good moral character to be eligible for and stay in conditional residency. At the end of the process, the young person can finally become an American citizen.
It is the intention of this Chicago march to bring more than 100,000 people to Washington, D.C. in the "March for America" which is scheduled for March 21 in Washington, D.C.
"Immigration affects all of us. It's not just a Latino problem," said Alie Kabba, executive director of the United African Organization and a vice president on the ICIRR board.
The Wednesday march starts at 11 a.m. at Union Park at Lake Street and Ashland Avenue and starting at 1 p.m. they will march to the Federal Plaza at downtown.
10 Mar 2010 (All day)
Reunion Time: 11:00a.m.-1:00p.m. Union Park ( W. Lake and N. Ashland) March Step Off Time: 1:00 p.m. Arrive at Federal Plaza and Coming Out Event : 3:00 PM