7000 Rally in Boston for Immigrants
By Fr. Robert J. Carr
Boston--A pro-immigrant rally gathered an estimated 7000 men, women and children to promote justice in the current immigration debate in congress. The rally, a response to a house bill that proposed criminal status for the undocumented, featured calls by various speakers to bring a just form of immigration legislation.
Attendees sported an overwhelming number of American flags along with those from other countries including the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Brazil. Countries represented included those from Asia, Europe and the Americas. Among the speakers was a representative for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who could not attend the event, but who called for just immigration reform. Others included Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo, the only Puerto Rican member of that legislative body.
Arroyo proclaimed that the immigrants have the right, the desire and the power to be here in the United States to the crowd of cheering supporters. Other speakers included members of the Black Clergy as well as Irish immigrants all calling for just immigration laws.
The rally organizers were members of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (www.miracoalition.org) a group of 80 groups that range from Catholic Charities to the American Civil Liberties Union.
There was a march through the streets from the Boston Common to Copley Square. The latter is more famous as the home to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Among the speakers scheduled at press time to address the marchers at Copley Square was Boston's Cardinal Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley.
Messages from enemies of amnesty legislation were also present including a banner towed behind an airplane, flying above the rally, that called for enforcement of immigration laws and called for no amnesty for the undocumented. The banner did not identify the author of the message. Other complaints included one sign that called for "Illegal Immigrants" to be deported to the Vatican.
The Boston Rally was one of several held throughout the country this weekend and even more held over the past several months. An estimated 500,000 marched through the streets of Dallas this weekend.
The rallies were a response to the now defunct House Bill HR 4437 which proposed making undocumented aliens and those who assist them to be felons. This raised a specter of fear among the immigration community, the religious communities and others that the legislators planned to put everyone in jail from the undocumented student in high school to the soccer mom driving he and her son to a game.
Supporters of the bill indicated that this was neither the intent nor the concept of the bill which was more focused on stopping those who bring the undocumented across the borders.
Among those who called for a stop to the HR 4437 included Intel's Andrew Grove who likened it to similar legislation he encountered during the NAZI reign in Eastern Europe. Grove expressed his comments in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.
There are an estimated 11 Million undocumented aliens in the United States. Many come across the border from Mexico or Canada. Others come legally and overstay their visas.
Concerns about legislation targeting the undocumented are that such people essentially are cutting in line in front of those who use legal channels to enter the country. Other concerns are that the undocumented are using tax payer funded methods of health care or that they are not paying taxes, yet are reaping the benefits. Immigration supporters indicate that many of the undocumented are indeed paying taxes.
Rallies are expected to continue and include a possible work stoppage by immigrants on May 1.
http://www.revrobertjcarr.com MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Priest, 617 230-3300
immigration, Catholic Charities, Boston, hr4437
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