On May 1, 2013, I dropped by San Jose's City Hall after my work to attend a rally for immigration reform. The crowd was mostly Hispanic, but it also included white, Asian-American and African American individuals who are passionate about the issue. It was a very friendly and hopeful crowd, and when I asked if I could photograph individuals, they were always very happy to oblige. The speakers at the rally told the crowd that this is their time, that the recent elections in 2012 have given the Hispanic American population the political clout to pressure Congress to pass fair and meaningful immigration reform. I'll put on this blog some of the photos that I took of the event.
I've been following the immigration reform debate for a long while. This issue is important not just for Hispanic Americans, but also for the Asian American community. There are many illegal immigrants who are Asian American, and many families are divided because of a backlog of immigration lists. The Filipino American community has especially been involved in lobbying for these issues. If you look at history, the Asian American community has faced similar discrimination that the Hispanic community is currently facing, from being segregated into Chinatowns, Japantowns and Manilatowns, to being denied access to American citizenship through laws such as the 1790 Naturalization Laws, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, and the 1924 Natural Origins Act, to having Japanese Americans being forced into internment camps during World War II. Historian Ronald Takaki wrote a good book titled Strangers From A Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans that chronicles the history of immigration of Asian Americans.
The Catholic Church has also been strongly involved in this issue, especially since many of the 11 million illegal immigrants are Catholic. The San Jose Catholic Church was heavily involved in organizing the rally on May 1. The rally started at 3 p.m. in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 2020 E San Antonio St, San Jose and the crowd began to march to San Jose's City Hall at 4 p.m. Father Jon Pedigo, a Catholic priest who is a longtime supporter of immigrant rights, was one of the featured speakers at the rally. Some members of Catholic Charities held a sign to let their presence known.
If you want to follow the immigration reform debate, you can visit these facebook pages:
The Gang of Eight Senators have crafted a bipartisan immigration reform package that many political analysts feel has a good chance of passing through a contentious Congress. Here is a link to the basic outline of the Gang of Eight proposals.
Here is a youtube video of the Gang of Eight talking about their proposals
In order for immigration reform to take place, your Senators and Representatives need to hear from you. To find out how to contact your Representative, you can go to this link and to contact your Senator, you can go to this link.
I end this blog with two Biblical verses:
You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. Exodus 22:21
The alien who resides among you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34