On October 5, thousands gathered in the city of Phoenix to attend a rally to advocate for a resolution regarding immigration reform. This date was termed the National Day for Dignity and Respect by immigrant advocacy groups. The rally was meant to reinvigorate immigration efforts in both Washington D.C. and Arizona.
The rally drew individuals from all over the state of Arizona. This rally was one of dozens of protests, events, and vigils held throughout the country at the same time. In fact, there were 100 cities throughout the U.S. that participated in the National Day for Dignity and Respect. The number of marchers in Phoenix was estimated to be around 4,000 people, more than what was expected by the rally's organizers.
Those participating in the event were asked to wear red that day. The president of Promise Arizona, an advocacy group in Phoenix, stated that the color red symbolizes “courage and valor.” Observing the rally, one would notice a sea of red shirts, banners, and signs. There were also drums and horns heard amongst the rally cries. The marchers walked from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish to the steps of the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse.
These protests and rallies were in response to the delayed action by the federal government over the proposed immigration bill. In June, a bipartisan bill was successfully passed in the Senate, but is still awaiting House action.
The proposed bill calls for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and involves stricter border security and immigration enforcement. There is also an element relating to the reorganization of the current visa system.
Meanwhile religious leaders have taken a unique view on the issue of immigration reform. Instead of thinking about it as a political question, they believe it is more of a religious question. Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares was quoted as saying that Christians are called upon to be the “voice for the voiceless.” Ultimately, religious leaders find that immigration reform is necessary to ensure that all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, no matter their current citizenship status.
The rally was held just over two months ago, and while publicity and optimism surrounded the event, there has yet to be a decision on immigration reform this year. And with just a few working days left, it seems that 2013 may pass with no decision being made.