350,000 to 500,000 people take to the streets of Dallas, Texas & demand immigration reform & a more just life in the United States
May 6, 2013

Thousands gathered Sunday in downtown Dallas to call for an immigration system overhaul as the Senate considers a proposal to legalize some of the estimated 11 million people who are in the U.S. unlawfully.

At the front of a march that began at the Cathedral Shrine of Our Virgin of Guadalupe were Catholic Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, an immigrant from Ireland, and Domingo García, a Dallas lawyer and one of the demonstration’s organizers.

“This nation was founded and built on immigrants, and we must continue to always welcome the immigrant in our midst,” Bishop Farrell said as the crowd clapped. The bishop drew more applause when he switched to Spanish and said he prayed that the nation’s leaders “accept and treat every person with justice.”

The march stretched for several blocks, bringing out families, college students and other supporters of the cause. A crowd estimate wasn’t available from police, but the turnout was a fraction of a similar march in 2006 that police said drew 350,000 to 500,000 people.

When the marchers arrived at Dallas City Hall, a Cinco de Mayo festival paused as the Pledge of Allegiance was recited and “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sung.

Dallas County Commissioner Elba García told the crowd: “We want immigration reform now. No more excuses!” Her husband, Domingo García, added, “The march is not over until President Obama signs an immigration bill.”

Angel Mondragon, an immigrant from Mexico City, carried a handmade placard that read, “Gays also want an immigration reform.” Mondragon said he loves the U.S. “I am gay and I have more opportunity here. People give me more respect here.” But the Senate measure doesn’t provide a provision that recognizes same-sex bi-national couples — a fact highlighted by various gay advocacy groups on the national level.

Some marchers and speakers noted the recent record deportations in the U.S. of about 400,000 a year. Hector Flores, a past national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, and Roberto Corona, an immigrant leader demanded that deportations should end. Through hard work within the United States, Corona said, “we have earned this immigration reform.”

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