Thousands join in May Day march for immigration reform

In what has become an annual show of force in cities across the country, immigrant workers and their families took to Chicago’s streets on May 1, marching on behalf of immigration reform, hoping their voices will be heard by lawmakers locally, and in Washington D.C.

Their message today? “Basically stop deportation, we’re here to work, we are not criminals,” one marcher said.

The afternoon began at Union Park on the city’s Near West Side where about 1,000 demonstrators gathered.  The crowd quickly grew to several thousand as the march continued down Washington Street. Marchers met with another group of demonstrators at Des Plaines, then everyone headed straight for Federal Plaza.

They held American and Mexican flags, chanting in both English and Spanish.  Many marchers were undocumented, and some have family members who have been deported.

“My family is one of them that is divided due to deportation,” said Cecilia Ibarra, explaining that some of her family members have been deported.

“They live there with their kids who were born here,” she said

“Most of these people do the jobs nobody wants to do, so I think we’re fighting for something that is right for everybody,” said marcher Oscar Gonzalez.

By 4 p.m. Wednesday, Federal Plaza was packed. The Chicago Police Department kept a close eye on the crowd looking for suspicious activity —  more than 100 officers were on hand.  Dozens of speakers told stories of having family members deported, while others did their best to fire the crowd up. Sen. Dick Durbin was the main speaker of the day.

“It is time for America to stand together for comprehensive immigration reform!” he said.

He of course spoke about the DREAM Act, and his efforts to pass a immigration reform bill he says he’s has been working on for the past three months.

“This comprehensive bill that we are proposing says that individuals that have received final orders of deportation are eligible to become legal citizens of the U.S.,” he said.

9 comments

  • Gerard1

    In your article -this quote : “we are not criminals”
    Yes you are. It is illegal to enter the United States without permission. The first time an illegal immigrant is caught, it is a misdemeanor civil offense. A second time is a felony!

    “Most of these people do the jobs nobody wants to do, so I think we’re fighting for something that is right for everybody,” said marcher Oscar Gonzalez

    That is an untrue statement, as there aren’t enough jobs for the legal residents of this country.

  • Esco

    We'll hand you citizenship to our country if you hand us your country's land, investments and natural resources.

    Deal?

  • BearArms

    Yes, why don’t we start deporting all immigrants! All of you Caucasians can start packing, jump on a boat and head back to Europe! leave my people’s land! You all came here and murdered my peoples! And now you are complaining about our next door neighbors who are here because Your American Companies continue to exploit all of the Americas by paying slave wages for the “jobs” that are being offered in their countries. Try to live of off what GAP pays a seamstress a day, and then you will know why they are here. So all you Europeans. Pack your stuff and get out of my land, my neighbors can stay.

  • Europe

    I see here so many stupid people they are trying to say that immigrants should be deported.:)))
    I just want to tell them look behind and tell me please how you came here or how your relatives came to North America ????
    Everybody in this country is immigrant!!!
    Even Obama is from Africa , the Native American they were killed few hundred years ago , and be fear and recognize this that United States of America should be named United States of Immigrants.
    Everybody is from somewhere everybody has German surname or Irish, Polish , Jewish, African surname and came from somewhere.
    So don't try to tell me that if you was born here you are American, you can be considered American on the paper but on you blood you are immigrant and your ties are from Ireland , polish , Germany , England .
    You grand parents they also came like us immigrants and they built this country .
    Europeans immigrants.
    So be fear and respect the other people who are respecting you.

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