Last March 10, hundreds of thousands of supporters from the city of Chicago and surrounding areas held one of the biggest pro-immigrant demonstrations in U.S. history.
The attendees were immigrant rights groups who undertook a word-of-mouth campaign to invite people to attend the rally. According to estimates from CNN, nearly 400,000 people participated while police estimates a hundred thousand individuals.
The march for pro-immigration started at Union Park on the Near West Side causing traffic to stop for over two miles. Many nationalities attended, among them Mexicans, Guatamelans, Latinos along with Irish, Polish and Chinese nationals together with community organizations and labor unions pushing for immigrant rights.
The rally converged at the Federal Plaza where speakers urged for pro-immigrant legislation and repeal of HR 4437 that criminalizes employment of illegal immigrants and meting out punishments for others that assists them.
According to the organizers, the new anti-immigration laws have awakened “a sleeping giant”. Other sentiments included “I’m not a criminal or a terrorist, I’m a dishwasher” and “Keep our families together”, “We are not criminals, we are workers” and “No human being is illegal”.
Aside from immigration groups, many workers left their jobs on their shifts to show solidarity with immigrant rights. Hundreds of high school students also did not attend school as many of them attended the rally. Also in attendance were known political figures, such as Rep Luis Gutierrez (D- Ill.), former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).