On August 24, hundreds of people took to the streets in Grand Rapids, Mich., to march for immigration reform. Equipped with a loudspeaker, drums and handmade signs, they congregated and marched to the Kent County Republican office. According to Grand Rapids NBC affiliate WOOD-TV, the protesters were marching because they want Congress to pass an immigration reform bill allowing the 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States to gain citizenship. They hope their action creates a larger conversation about immigration reform to help implement change.
“We know that we are close to immigration reform and there are just a few hold outs so to speak,” Joyce Annhertzig told WOOD-TV. “We need to move this forward.”
Many individuals who participated in the march are members of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement group and chose their protest date to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and urge further immigration reform.
“FIRM is proud to remember this historic event and the impact it had in pushing forward legislation to grant civil rights for African Americans,” Kica Matos, FIRM spokesperson, said. “Those who fought for civil rights in our country have taught the immigrant rights movement a valuable lesson: never give up when the humanity and equality of people are at stake.”
As the House of Representatives’ August recess comes to a close, many are anticipating that the immigration reform bill will be back in the spotlight come September. According to Northern Voices Online, the bill went stagnant for a few weeks after passing from the Senate to the House because of this five-week break. Although it has not moved quickly through the House, immigration advocates are still hopeful that Republican leaders will be able to come to an agreement and pass the bill in the coming months.