Thousands of people flooded streets all over the United States on Saturday, October 5th in a bid to put an end to the legal limbo in which more than 11 million undocumented immigrants are forced to exist, and overhaul the country’s broken immigration system.
Around 3,000 demonstrators – primarily Arab, Asian and Hispanic – demonstrated in New York as part of the coast-to-coast marches before moving onto the landmark Brooklyn Bridge, as their counterparts over in California marched on Hollywood. One hundred and sixty cities in total were involved in the demonstrations. “What we need is to win over peacefully those who are opposed,” says Honduran undocumented immigrant Danick Martinez, a 30-year-old who has been illegally living and working in the United States for more than ten years now.
The New York Immigration Coalition organized the March for Dignity and Respect together with a number of other groups who support the legalization of undocumented immigrants. The hope was to rally up to as many as 130,000 people in order to try to force Congress into adopting comprehensive legislation that would offer a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million residents of the United States that have to live in the shadows illegally.
“Here in New York, we have a special obligation,” says Democrat Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. “We are the city of immigrants, and we are proud about it. We have to lead the way.” There are believed to be around 500,000 undocumented immigrants living in New York.