LANCASTER – As part of the National Day of Action on Wednesday, thousands of immigrant-rights activists participated in marches and rallies throughout the country to advocate for immigration reform.
Locally, activists of all ages gathered in front of Antelope Valley College Wednesday afternoon to add their voices to the chorus for immigration reform.
“I am here because I am tired of seeing my family and my community harassed and broken apart by unjust laws and deportations,” said Cesar Miguel Vega Magallon. “Antelope Valley needs to realize that undocumented migrants are here in Lancaster, Palmdale, Quartz Hill, Littlerock –we are in need of reform now. This isn’t just an issue in Washington; it isn’t just an issue in Sacramento.”
The group hosted the local rally, along with several other organizations, including the local chapter of the NAACP, the High Desert Democratic Club, The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association and Agents of Change.
Organizers hoped the rally, dubbed “All in for Citizenship,” would bring awareness to the plight of undocumented residents in the Antelope Valley.
“I’ve been here since I was three and a half years old, I’m 23 years old now and this is my home,” said Erick Godoy of the Antelope Valley Dream Team. “All we’re trying to do is create a better future for ourselves and for our future family.”
“We need our local leaders, especially our congressman and our assemblyman, to start getting behind immigration reform and to stop opposing it at every turn…” added Magallon. “We want them to realize that when they go on national television or national media, or when they go to Washington or Sacramento to speak against reform, they’re speaking against their own community, because we are here and we do need them behind us. We need them aware that we exist,” Magallon continued.
Wednesday’s nationwide rallies marked the anniversary of the largest nationwide day of protest that occurred on April 10, 2006. On that day, thousands of people participated in marches and rallies throughout the country to advocate for immigration reform and protest legislation that would’ve raised penalties for undocumented immigrants.
“Right now, in the California Assembly, we have the TRUST Act, which was vetoed by Governor Brown last year and it’s been re-introduced and just passed committee yesterday (April 9),” Magallon said. “We also have AB 60, which gives undocumented drivers a driver’s license. We have, at the national level, both the House and the Senate versions of immigration reform bills coming up. So the fight is now, this is the time to do it.”
“This is a wave of support towards some of kind of immigration reform, whether it is going to be some kind of guest worker program or some kind of path to immigration, something needs to be done,” said Dr. Miguel Coronado, President of Agents of Change. “They always say, ‘the borders are broken,’ but in order to fix it, we need to start with some kind of reform, some kind of law to include us into the mix of the American dream.”
For more information on the Antelope Valley Dream Team and how you can support their local efforts to advocate for immigrant rights and issues, visit the group’s facebook page here.