On Tuesday, Oct. 8, thousands marched to the capital after a rally in support of immigration reform. Members of Congress were in attendance, and among the 200 protestors who were arrested for civil disobedience.
Known as Camino Americano, or the the American Way, the rally featured speakers, musical acts and federal legislators. Attendees carried signs and recited chants, encouraging the House of Representatives to vote on a bipartisan bill for immigration reform. The Senate bill would offer an earned path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the country.
“We elected our representatives to Congress to handle a whole range of issues, and the time is now for immigration reform,” Sharita Gruberg, a member of the Center for American Progress, told WJLA, ABC’s Washington D.C. affiliate. “Eleven million people can’t wait anymore.”
With the federal government currently shutdown, it is doubtful whether reforms will be passed before the new year. Those following the situation fear that if a reform bill does not get passed in 2013, the elections of 2014 will interfere with progress on the issue.
To really hit the point home, Camino Americano attendees marched from the National Mall – where the rally took place – to Capitol Hill. According to MSNBC, Democratic congressman Charles Rangel of New York, Al Green of Texas, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, John Lewis of Georgia, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Joe Crowley of New York and Keith Ellison of Minnesota were among those participating in the march, which led to the arrest of about 200 protestors.
Many protestors drove from all over the country to attend. Some were activists, others were undocumented immigrants willing to risk arrest to voice their desire for change.
Congressman Maria Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., attended but was not arrested. He feels optimistic that other Republicans will push comprehensive reform through the House.
“We’re working in a bi-partisan way to quietly get votes, make sure it’s legislation that people understand so that we can get the votes to move forward,” Diaz-Balart told WJLA.