The National Week of Action for Citizenship culminated in the Rally for Citizen on the United States Capitol last April 10.
Thousands of people from more than 30 states participated in the rally which showcased multi-sector support for immigration refom.
NAACP president Benjamin Jealous delivered the keynote address.
The speakers remarked that undocumented immigrants are Americans-in-waiting. Most live in families and most have been here longer than a decade. Many are young people – DREAMers – who have excelled in high school and college.
In addition, most undocumented Americans are “hard workers and risk takers who came here to build a better life for their families”, they said.
Organizers and speakers exposed that the reform must combine:
1) an inclusive path to citizenship for those working and living in America without papers: if you’re here, you pass background checks, study English and pay taxes, you can become a citizen;
2) fair enforcement because for years we’ve prioritized the border and failed to enforce labor, civil, and human rights;
3) a modern legal immigration system that protects family unity and links employment-based visa levels to the economy—increasing when employers legitimately cannot fill jobs, and decreasing when unemployment is high.
Immigrants families spoke about how the broken system has devastated their families.