FilAms Join Push For Immigration Reform

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – Despite the looming government shutdown, scores of Filipino Americans were undeterred as they joined thousands during the immigration rally last Saturday (Oct. 12) to press for immigration reform in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Filipino American Lawrence Benito, Executive Director of Chicago-based Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), when asked by this reporter, if the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization bill overwhelmingly passed by United States Senate, 68-32, last June can still sail thru by the House Representatives this year, said, “There has never been a good time for immigration reform. There is always excuse why things do not get done. We are not taking anything for granted. We will continue (with our push for passage of the immigration reform bill).

“If we don’t get organized and if we don’t put pressure on our elected officials, they are not going to pass it (the bill).”

Other Filipino Americans, who joined the rally from Teamster City, 1645 W. Jackson Blvd. and traveled east on Jackson to Dearborn Street and ending up at the Daley Center plaza, were led by Jerry Clarito and Juanita Salvador-Burris, both of Alliance of Filipino Immigrant & Refugee Rights (AFIRE), and Ben Beltran and Nicole Camacho, members of the Loyola University Kapwa Students Organization.

Banners carried by demonstrators were very eloquent. Among them, “REPUBLICANS STOP BEING GRINCH, PASS IMMIGRATION REFORM” and “Daily DEPORTATIONS 1,400 EVERY DAY.  BASTA (Enough) STOP.”

Even civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, who spoke at the rally, also joined calls to “stop deportations; they are breaking families apart.”

Benito said, “immigration rallies in 200 cities were held last week.

“Today, ten thousands joined the rally asking, (Rep. Peter) Roscam and Republicans in Congress to get the job done. (This) demonstration (will) put forward the bill and we need the help of Republicans” to have this bill passed.

“We have action plan to hold a rally every week this October and November until the job is done.”

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