Massachusetts Immigrants Lobby and Rally in D.C. for Immigration Reform
Group receives strong support from every legislator visited
April 10, 2013 BOSTON – Immigrants and advocates traveled on two buses from Boston to lobby the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and join the huge "Time IsNow" rally for immigration reform on Wednesday. The group met Wednesday morning with 7 of Massachusetts' 9 Congressional representatives or their senior staff. Senator William "Mo" Cowan, former Chief of Staff of Governor Deval Patrick, reiterated his strong support of immigration reform and of the Governor's long-term dedication to the issue. And Congressman Joseph Kennedy III spoke in Spanish with many of the the immigrants, offering them personal words of encouragement. The staff of all the other representatives, as well as of Senator Elizabeth Warren, also spoke in favor of a bill with provisions for the reunification of separated families and a clear path to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.
In the afternoon, the Massachusetts immigrants and advocates joined tens of thousands of others for a massive rally on the West Lawn on the U.S. Capitol, hearing speakers including Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), one of the members of the gang of eight, who sounded convinced of the bill's momentum. The mood of the day was summed up by Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland: “We’ve been through this before, but this time it’s different, we are different, and Washington is different. The politicians can’t ignore us now. We will become citizens, and we will vote."
"The Time is Now" rally was hosted by CASA de Maryland and SEIU 32BJ, and supported by prominent organizations across the nation. Groups that participated in the ride from Boston, sponsored by the Keeping Families Together campaign, included:
- Assitencia Total Brasileira
- Brazilian Immigrant Center
- Brazilian Women's Group
- Chelsea Collaborative
- Dominican Development Center
- Latinos en Accion, Allston-Brighton
- Latinos Unidos de Massachusetts (LUMA)
- MataHari: Eye of the Day
- Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
- MIRA USA
- Neighbors United for a Better East Boston(NUBE)
- Reach/Latinas Know Your Rights
The lobby and rally marked the culmination of a week of actions across the nation demanding immigration reform now, including rallies in Boston, Nashua and Providence last weekend, and a packed Immigrants Day at the State House on Monday featuring Pultizer-prize winning journalist and undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of "Define American."
The New England Coalition for Keeping Families Together: Agencia ALPHA, Alliance to Develop Power (ADP), Brazilian Immigrant Center, Brazilian Women's Group, Centro Latino, Chelsea Collaborative,Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Community Connections of Brockton, East Boston Ecumenical Community Council (EBECC), Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), JUNTA for Progressive Action (New Haven, CT), Latinos Unidos de Massachusetts (LUMA), Massachusetts Community Action Network/PICO National Network, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), New Bedford Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts (CEDC), New Hampshire Alliance of Immigrants and Refugees, ¿Oiste?, Roca Inc, Unidad Latina (New Haven, CT), Worcester Immigrant Coalition.