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100,000 march for immigrant rights in Chicago

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Issue: 35 Section: International News Geography: USA Chicago, Los Angeles Topics: labour, migration

March 20, 2006

100,000 march for immigrant rights in Chicago

by Salvatore Ciolfi

On Saturday, March 11, more than 100,000 people took part in a public protest against bill HR44367; a bill that is soon to be voted upon by the U.S. Senate.

The proposed legislation has controversially called for the creation of a fence along parts of the Mexican border and would also criminalize the action of assisting undocumented immigrants illegally remaining in the country.

More than 100 organizations representing Chicago-area immigrants organized the massive march just days before the,event, with delegations also coming from neighbouring states and the northeast.

Starting at noon, the marchers chanted, "Si se Puede," which translates as, "Yes, it can be done," and eventually overtook much of the busy downtown Loop business district. There, the protesters waved multi-lingual banners, as well as American, Mexican, Asian and Caribbean flags, and cheered as numerous politicians spoke, including Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

"Do not allow anyone to tell you that you're an immigrant. Everyone in America is an immigrant," the mayor said.

Governor Rod Blagojevich spoke next, and was treated like a hero when he said, in both English and Spanish, "You are not criminals. You are workers."

According to new reports in the U.S. media, the illegal immigrant population has grown from about 8.4 million people in 2000 to about 12 million.

Locally, the efforts of immigrants' groups have begun to pay off, as already both state and city government bodies have passed resolutions rejecting proposals such as HR44367. The state senate, in fact, has already requested an immigration reform that would allow undocumented people to be granted legal residency and eventual citizenship.

Salvatore Ciolfi

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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