Similar to a recent rally held at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis for immigration, over 1,000 kids hit the streets in Chicago and D.C. to support President Obama’s comprehensive immigration reform. The protestors were raising awareness and trying to pressure legislators and the President to vote on the immigration reform while momentum is strong.
The protest was organized by the Illinois coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights which asked 10 children to step up to the microphone and give a speech. Many of the children and families involved at the protest are undocumented or have family members who are undocumented. 9-year-old Christian Rodriguez was one of these children who stepped up and gave a speech to offer the President and policymakers clarity. “If I could sit down with President Obama, I’d ask if he could pass comprehensive immigration reform like in 1986, so my parents could stay with me,” he said. “Kids are the future of us,” he added. “So we need to support them.” Christian then proceeded to reread his speech in Spanish directed towards the older population present.
More children than we may realize live with a heavy burden of fear of the government separating them from their families. Like Christian, another child, Michele Rodriguez, voiced her concern of being separated from her family if her parents were to be deported. She also has an autistic sister, so it is crucial that their family stay together. “This [march] isn’t just for me, but for all of us,” she said. Children are experiencing the reform from a different standpoint. It does not involve politics or worries of reelection and incumbency concerns, but kids who have lived their entire lives in the U.S. fear that their parents will be taken away from them by a government that does not care.
The group’s organizers goals
Erendira Rendon is an organizer of the kid-friendly rally and commented that if Washington is not affected by the children’s stories then reality eventually will. “These kids will be turning 18, and they’ll all vote for their parents,” she said. “I think kids feel the pain and they want to express it,” she said. “We’re all waiting for a bill while momentum is strong.” This rally was another way to express the importance to congress of what is included in the immigration plan and how soon it is enforced. The President says he wants the bill signed into law as soon as possible, but until Congress compromises, these children will have to continue living with the fear of their families being separated.
If you have questions regarding the new push for comprehensive immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.