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Make the Road PA, a number of other immigrant's rights organizations and two state reps joined a march in Philly demanding citizenship be included in the Biden administration's budget reconciliation bill. Photo: Brittany Valentine/Al Día News

Immigrant rights activists in Philly want Bob Casey, other U.S. senators to ignore the Parliamentarian

The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled against including immigration measures in President Biden’s budget reconciliation bill.

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On Thursday, Nov. 4, immigrants and advocacy groups across the country from 11 cities including NYC, NJ, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington D.C, Seattle and Philadelphia took to the streets to demand a strong message to Congress.

This national action is part of immigrants' escalating pressure on Democratic leaders to disregard the Senate parliamentarian’s advisory opinion and include a pathway to citizenship in the budget reconciliation package.

In Philadelphia, a crowd gathered outside of Senator Bob Casey’s office on 20th and Market streets, to demand a clear pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Make the Road PA, New Sanctuary Movement, Pennsylvania Immigrant & Citizenship Coalition, Woori Center, and the Movement of Immigrant Leaders in PA, joined State Reps. Chris Rabb and Danilo Burgos to make the message loud and clear, that immigrants can’t wait any longer.

Maegan Llerena, the executive director of Make the Road Pennsylvania, spoke first, stating the purpose of the rally. 

“We are here today because there are 11 million undocumented folks that have been promised a pathway to citizenship time and time again, and have been let down. That’s not right. My tíos, mis tías, mis amigos, mi gente, they deserve a pathway to citizenship,” Llerena said. 

Llerena said that it is not enough anymore for politicians to say via phone calls or via meetings that they support immigrants, and then not follow through on their promises to support their causes and guarantee a pathway to permanent citizenship.

“What they are doing right now — taking a path to citizenship away from the bill — is a slap in the face of all the essential workers that have been busting their asses during the pandemic,” she said. 

“I don't know how else to say this but: put up or shut up,” said Rabb, which he repeated three times, adding that those elected to be public servants should live up to their title and serve the public. 

In the rest of his speech, Rabb mentioned that this fight is his fight too, as his ancestors were born in this country as enslaved people and didn’t have documentation either. 

“So this is my struggle too. All of our fights are intertwined. We suffer from different forms of the same systems of oppression. This is all of our fights, and there should be more of us here,” Rabb said. 

During a break from speeches, Make the Road PA organizer, Juana, led the crowd through a chant, before introducing Oscar Lopez, a 20-year-old college student and son of undocumented parents. 

“Casey, escucha, estamos en la lucha,” he said. (Casey, listen, we are in the fight.)

Lopez then took the microphone and commented on how he is pleased to see more people in attendance than two weeks ago at a similar event, despite the temperature being much colder. 

“But you know who we still don’t see here? Our Senator Bob Casey. How can you be a comrade to this movement if you are not willing to go down with us? We will not go down, we will continue fighting. My parents have been here for 25 years. They’re not tired, so we’re not tired,” Lopez said. 

He went on to talk about his parents immigrating from their home country due to “corruption, sexism and U.S. invasion,” and how it is not something they asked for. 

They now work as a cook and a domestic worker,but because they are undocumented, they are denied the economic mobility they could achieve. 

“The story of my parents...I wish it was a unique one. I wish it was a single case, but it’s the story of millions. I am here on behalf of them,” Lopez said.

The organizers then successfully shut down 2000 Market street, holding their gigantic banner that read ‘We demand citizenship now’ and chanting loudly. 

At around 12:15 p.m., Casey’s office announced an agreement to have the Senator meet with the organizers after months of outreach to his office. 

“That’s good news, but it’s not enough. We’re fighting for a path to citizenship, nothing less,” Make the Road PA tweeted.

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