Daily Video

October 10, 2013

Despite Shutdown, Immigration Advocates Rally in Washington


Despite the continuing government shutdown, thousands gathered on the National Mall to rally support for immigration reform. The rally was allowed to go forward despite being held on federal land because public areas like the National Mall are open for First Amendment-related activities, whether the government’s up and running or not.

The rally in Washington followed more than 100 weekend demonstrations around the country to bring attention to the stalled immigration negotiations. Although the Senate passed a bill for comprehensive reform, events like Syria have taken center-stage since Congress returned from its summer session.

“My message is let’s just make sure that we create a bill that moves people to a path to citizenship, that stops deportations and that really helps to reunite families,” said protester Anjelica Otero.

Some protesters in favor of comprehensive immigration reform who marched from the mall to the U.S. Capitol Tuesday were arrested for civil disobedience, including civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis and seven other congressmen.

Republicans, on the other hand, would like to take a different approach to the issue.

“I think the word comprehensive has a pejorative connotation in today’s political world, and folks would rather — at least from my vantage point, rather us take it issue by issue,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

Congressional debate over immigration will not begin until the shutdown and the debt ceiling battles end.

Warm up questions
  1. Do you think our country needs to reform its policies on immigration? Why or why not?
  2. What are some of the current rights that immigrants do not have that they are fighting for?
  3. If you wanted to change a law or policy- how would you do it?
Discussion questions
  1. About 11.7 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S. What are the risks and benefits in giving these immigrants a path to citizenship? (Source: The New York Times)
  2. Putting aside negative stereotypes, how would you describe someone who was willing to leave their country and their culture behind to try to create a better future for themselves and their family? Remember, if they moved there illegally they have no rights or protection under the law.
  3. What are some of the challenges that immigrants face when coming to the U.S. legally or illegally? Do you think it is worth it? Why or why not?
  4. What are some of the specific challenges that children face as immigrants?
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