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Immigrant Rights the Focus of Send-Off Rally

October 13, 2009

A crowd of approximately 150 gathered at Garfield Park Monday evening to rally around 55 area residents headed by bus to Washington D.C. There, they plan to join the Oct. 13 national march for immigration reform being organized by Reform Immigration For America. Thousands of immigration reform leaders from across the United States will converge on the nation’s capitol, where they plan on meeting with members of congress and staging a vigil on the West Lawn of the White House.

Even before the rally began, the park came alive with the energy of hope, hope for real change for the hard working immigrant families who contribute so much to our country and our economy but must hide in the shadows. “We’re here to send a message to the government that it’s time than our immigration system lives up to our American values,” said Jordan Bruxvoort, organizer with Michigan Organizing Project (MOP). “We need a system that keeps families together, rewards those who are willing to sacrifice, and work hard to make a better life for their kids.”

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Maria Salinas, organizer with the Michigan Chapter of the Gamaliel Foundation added, “We need immigration reform that is comprehensive, fair and that serves justice. (In the current system) families are torn apart. If we were able to have a better path to citizenship, it would help our economy.”

As the rally got started, the 55 headed for Washington DC were brought to the front of the crowd, which was roused by the speeches by area immigration rights leaders and chants of “Si se pueda!” (Yes, we can!)! Organizers then directed onlookers to form two lines. The 55 ran through the lines, giving hearty high fives to the crowd pressed on either side, and then boarded the tour bus.

Dolores Olivarez had in her hands the letter she received from President Obama; he writes of “a responsible path to earn citizenship by demonstrating sound character, a commitment to America, and a strong work ethic.” She’s placing her hope in these words, and in the thousands making the trek to Washington to stand up for immigration reform. “Immigrants are here to work, to make a difference and to make their lives better,” Olivarez said. “Give them that opportunity so they don’t have to be in hiding, living in fear.”

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