Because of work, I arrived a little late to stand among the 3,000 people who came to the Capitol to rally for immigration reform yesterday. Although I caught the speeches of a couple of Congressional representatives including Reps. Mike Honda and Xavier Becerra of California, I missed the main speech by Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois. You can see some of that speech below in the CSPAN video. Rep. Gutierrez laid out his core principles for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that he will be introducing this year.
The rally mixed political speeches from various constituencies with direct testimony from individuals affected by the immigration situation, prayer, and music. Although I missed most of the clergy as well (I did hear a Catholic priest from Chicago interviewed on the news that night), I was there for the final blessing given by Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church -- the first Hispanic woman elected to the UMC episcopacy. She and Gustavo Torres of CASA de Maryland co-chaired the rally.
I missed Robin Ferschke, whose moving story of trying to get citizenship for the Japanese wife of her son Sgt. Michael Ferschke who was killed in Iraq, has already inspired members of Congress to introduce a private member bill to help solve her situation. But I did hear a Navy veteran from Washington state tell the crowd that he would give back all his medals if justice could be done for an immigrant friend of his who was recently deported.
The rally followed a day of lobbying and we will need more rallies and more lobbying if we hope to see a comprehensive immigration reform bill any time soon.