March 17, 2006

Thousands march for immigrants’ rights in Chicago, DC

Immigrants and supporters marched and rallied in Chicago on March 10 to demand legalization for out-of-status immigrants and oppose anti-immigrant legislation currently being considered by the Senate. Organizers estimated the crowd at 130,000, while Chicago police estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people took part, making it one of the biggest pro-immigrant demonstrations in US history, according to national advocates.

The march was dominated by Mexican immigrants but also included Irish, Polish, Chinese and African-American participants. The protesters stepped off shortly after noon for a two-mile march to Federal Plaza, followed by a rally; The march was so long that many participants had not yet reached the plaza when the rally ended at 4 pm.

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley were among the politicians who spoke at the rally in favor of immigrant rights, along with US Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), a longtime advocate for immigrants. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, whole shifts of workers left their jobs in Chicago and the surrounding areas, and thousands of students walked out of class to attend the demonstration.

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