Four busloads of supporters from as far away as Burley and as close as Boise assembled at Julia Davis Park the evening of May 1 before marching down Capitol Blvd. to urge Congress to pass laws which would change the country's policies on immigration.
Many bore signs with the words "Si, Se Puede!" (Yes, it is possible), evoking worker's rights advocate Cesar Chavez, now a rallying cry for immigration reform rallies across the country.
Joined by members of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, Idaho Community Action Network, AFL-CIO and other groups, advocates called for comprehensive reform in Washington, D.C., including the creation of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the United States, and a call to keep families together.
It's estimated that millions of families in America include at least one undocumented relative, creating a huge dilemma: Does the U.S. government begin tearing families apart based on their immigration status?
18-year-olds Sitlaly Coss, Dajia Osornio and Gardenia Cuanos, Seniors at Nampa's Vallivue High School, are part of the Future Hispanic Leaders of America. They took part in the rally by circulating with clipboards and letters of support to be sent to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo's office.
"We're here to have our voices heard," said Cuanos.
Young adults were a common sight in the crowd, bearing banners or posters and marching alongside older generations. At the end of the march in Boise's Capitol Park, David Gutierrez, 16, of Burley High School, said the issue of immigration reform hits close to home.
"My parents, they're still treated as illegals. They can't share the opportunities that I can because they're illegal," he said.
He said his parents have lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years but have struggled to find work. Gutierrez is an American citizen and plans to study landscape architecture at the University of Idaho upon graduation. 17-year-old Angela Flores, a 15-year resident of the United States, told rally-goers she is "undocumented and unafraid."
"We are the new Americans of this country," she said. "Our voice and our vote are the future of this country."
- Andrew Crisp
- Immigration reform should include a pathway to citizenship, according to supporters.
- Andrew Crisp
- Supporters filed down Capitol Boulevard, ending with a rally at Capitol Park.