Los Angeles, Feb 14 (EFE).- Immigrants and organizations supporting them joined forces on Monday in spontaneous demonstrations in a number of US cities to demand immigration reform after the “A Day Without Immigrants” campaign staged by activist Carlos Eduardo Espina via TikTok early in February.
Waving Mexican and Central American flags, hundreds of immigrants gathered on Monday in front of the White House to urge President Joe Biden to fulfill his campaign promise and resolve the legal status of some 11 undocumented immigrants living in the US.
“Biden, where’s the reform?” “Immigration reform now” and “From Queretaro for immigration reform” were some of the slogans written on assorted signs displayed by the demonstrators on the Washington Mall.
“We returned to put the issue on the table, and that is already a big achievement because in the middle of the pandemic and the economic problems we undocumented people had become invisible,” Peruvian Lenka Mendoza told EFE.
Mendoza, who arrived in the US 22 years ago and owns a food business in Virginia, said that in less than two weeks more than 1,000 people had spontaneously gathered in front of the White House “without it costing any organization a penny.”
“We’re tired of being ignored,” she emphasized.
Immigrants from more than 15 states came to demonstrate at the White House and told their stories to the crowd that was present during more than three hours before they were removed by security forces.
Since Feb. 1, Espina – a 23-year-old Internet “influencer” with 2.5 million followers – has been issuing the call for the demonstrations on the social networks after experiencing the deportation of his Mexican mother years ago.
The activist, who lives in Texas, emphasized to EFE that an election year such as 2022 is the time to reactivate the campaign for immigration reform in Congress to benefit millions of undocumented workers who help sustain the economy.
Organizers of the rally said on their Web page that the US government is refusing to recognize the contributions of undocumented immigrants and to authorize immigration reform to help them.
Similar demonstrations were also staged in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando, Boston and New York, among other cities.
In Los Angeles, the demonstration was staged at the federal immigration building, where undocumented migrants like Mayra Todd, from Guatemala, came to call for immigration reform.
“Valentine’s Day is very appropriate for talking about immigration because we undocumented (people) are great friends of the United States. We bring food to people’s tables, we clean their homes, we take care of their children,” Todd told EFE.
Todd, who arrived in the US in 1987, encouraged dozens of women with her organization “Mujeres de Hoy” (Today’s Women) to join this cause.
“We’ve managed to gather thousands in one way or another,” she said, referring to the Day Without Immigrants message being spread via the social networks. “The call is already going around for us to show up on May 1,” she said regarding the traditional march held by immigrants on that day in the US.
Espina told EFE that although they might not manage to shut down economic activity, at least the demonstrators are “once again putting into everyone’s ears the need for immigration reforms.”
“I … launched the idea, and many people answered and we went on the march,” said the young man whose Uruguayan father brought him to the US when he was five years old.
The activist said that it’s been more than 35 years since some kind of immigration reform was approved in this country and “it seems that the issue has been forgotten in Congress and by President Biden.”