- Title: USA: Hundred of thousands rally throughout the U.S. to demand immIration reform
- Date: 12th April 2006
- Summary: (W1) WASHINGTON USA (APRIL 10, 2006) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF RALLY (2 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 27th April 2006 13:00
- Location: Usa, Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Employment,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5SYVW8K4LC6W12QGBCBJNX8G2
- Story Text: A multi-ethnic sea of immigrant protesters lined the streets of lower Manhattan on Monday (April 10). The crowd, which numbered in the thousands, was part of a nation-wide chain of protests to demand dignity and more rights for millions of illegal immigrants.
The national day of protest, the biggest in a wave of rallies that some have compared to the 1960s civil rights movement, was provoked by legislation that would turn millions of illegal immigrants into felons and fence off sections of the U.S. border with Mexico.
In New York, immigrants assembled in areas like Chinatown and marched through the streets on way to the rally. Margaret Chin helped assemble her fellow Chinese protesters. She said, "We are here today because we want America to accept us."
For Jorge Guerrero, the protest was a way of demonstrating the importance of immigrant labor. He said, "We've come to this country to make it better, and they know that we are hardest workers in the country. Nobody wants to do the things we are doing and they don't want to recognize that."
Up to 20,000 rallied outside City Hall under the theme "We are America," turning Broadway into a colorful sea of American and foreign flags. The rally drew the attention of several New York political heads, including Senator Hillary Clinton who spoke in support of the immigrants.
"Thank you for being part of what makes our economy work. Thank you for caring about your families. Thank you for your contributions to this country," said Clinton. "Your faces are the faces of America. The faces of people who care for our children and our elderly, the faces of people who do the hard work of construction and land-scaping. The faces of those who give us a good day's work, and often not for a fair day's pay."
Congressman Jose Serrano joined Clinton in his demand for immigrant equality. Said Serrano, "And as we wave the American flag, we're simply asking for the opportunity to be part of the American dream, to pay our taxes, to feed our families, to hold our jobs. You are the strength of this country."
Immigrant rights groups provided buses to bring in protesters, including low-paid workers whom Americans have come to rely on for cutting their lawns and fixing their houses.
There are 11.5 million to 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, according to an estimate by the Pew Hispanic Center.
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