"Si se puede!" Advocates for immigration reform, civil rights leaders and faith leaders joined a March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect on the Washington DC Mall.
Heading toward the U.S. Capitol during the March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect held at the National Mall in Washington, DC Tuesday October 8, 2013. (Photo by Jared Soares for MSNBC)
Thousands of protestors gathered at the National Mall on Tuesday to demand Congress, currently mired in a shutdown and default crisis, finally get around to passing immigration reform.
The rally, organized by a coalition of immigrant rights groups and labor unions, featured speeches from dozens of politicians. Among the speakers was Nancy Pelosi, who recently joined Democratic members in introducing a new comprehensive immigration bill modeled on the Senate’s already-passed proposal. Many attendees carried signs or chanted slogans encouraging the House to hold a vote on the bipartisan Senate bill, which would have provided an earned path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants over a 13 year period.
Several members of Congress joined leaders of pro-reform groups in engaging in civil disobedience at the event, leading to their arrest. Democratic members Charles Rangel, Al Green, Jan Schakowsky, Luis Gutierrez, John Lewis, Raul Grijalva, Joe Crowley and Keith Ellison were removed in plastic cuffs after blocking a street as onlookers cheered “Si se puede!”
Republican leaders have said they’re interested in pursuing immigration reform this year, but have yet to settle on a plan for how to proceed. The caucus has yet to reach a consensus on whether to grant a path to legal status and eventual citizenship to the estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country today. Recent battles over Syria, health care, and the debt ceiling have eaten up both time and political capital. But immigration activists hope to remind the GOP to revisit reform–or face the political consequences.
Dani Noble, of Atlantic City, New Jersey, left, dances with Angel Vargas, from the Bronx, New York, during the March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect. The duo was representing Unite Here!, a service workers advocacy group. (Photo by Jared Soares for MSNBC)
A group of civil rights leaders and faith leaders including Rep. Luis Gutierrez (center) and Rep. John Lewis (right) march toward the U.S. Capitol. The group would later be arrested. (Photo by Jared Soares for MSNBC)
A woman, representing Unite Here!, a service workers advocacy group, is arrested at the U.S. Capitol after marching with civil rights leaders, faith leaders and congressmen on October 8, 2013. (Photo by Jared Soares for MSNBC)