Karin Brulliard, Washington Post, August 31, 2006
Nicole Gaouette, Los Angeles Times, September 1, 2006
Advocates of immigration yesterday announced a rally in the District to “welcome back” members of Congress, who are expected to resume a heated debate about U.S. policy on illegal aliens.
“We are unrelenting in our efforts to get comprehensive immigration reform passed,” said Germonique Jones, a spokeswoman for the Center for Community Change, based in the District.
The rally Thursday on the Mall will call on lawmakers to pass legislation helping illegal aliens achieve legal status and ending deportations that split families.
“We want to make sure that right before elections [lawmakers] understand that immigrants are paying attention to the debate, and we want action from Congress and not just lip service,” said Jaime Contreras, president of the National Capital Immigration Coalition, which organized the event. “We want solutions.”
One of the speakers will be Bruce S. Gordon, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Protesters will march past the Capitol to the White House.
Participants are encouraged to wear white and discouraged from carrying foreign flags.
Miss Jones said the rally Thursday will reflect an outreach to the black, Asian, African and Muslim communities. It also will draw on the energy created by the election season.
“We’re getting down to the wire . . . and I think that’s going to play out in the tenor of the marches,” she said.
Camp Democracy, an effort led by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, also will hold a rally Thursday that will include a vigil for illegal aliens who died attempting to enter the United States.
Metro will run trains at more frequent intervals starting at 2 p.m., and is providing rally organizers with 20,000 Spanish-language pocket guides.
To alleviate crowding at subway stations, Metro will add staff, sell fare cards by hand at the D.C. Stadium-Armory and other stations, make some service announcements in Spanish and place temporary Spanish instructions on fare card machines.
Spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said Metro recorded 821,283 riders during the April 10 immigration rally on the Mall, the second-highest ridership in its 30-year history.
“We advise customers to plan accordingly, possibly stagger their work times as to when they leave, be prepared for heavier volumes on the railway system and avoid transferring trains if possible,” he said.
Similar demonstrations will be held Monday in Phoenix and Sept. 9 in Los Angeles.
Today, about 100,000 people in Chicago are expected to begin a four-day march to the office of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican.