Monday, February 23, 2009

Marcha Migrante IV

Fernando Romero

Story and video courtesy of Daily 49er available Daily 49er

The pro immigrant-rights group Border Angels made a stop at Cal State University Long Beach on Wednesday, Feb. 4 during Marcha Migrante IV, their fourth annual cross-country trip to Washington D.C. to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform.

Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, was at the head of the march. The San Diego-based group is made up of volunteers who work to stop migrant deaths at theU.S.-Mexico border by setting up water stations throughout the desert and spreading awareness about the dangers and deaths at the border, in order to provide aid.

Already in its fourth installment, Marcha Migrante IV is the annual caravan made up of activists and volunteers who criss-cross the nation gathering support to pressure politicians to enact legislation for just and humane immigration reform. The caravan made stops in different cities en route to the nation’s capital including those in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, among others.

The event presented at CSULB was sponsored in part by HSI – Mi Casa: Mi Universidad, Future Underrepresented Educated Leaders, the Chicano/ Latino Studies Dept. and the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition. The reception for the event was held at the Karl Anatol Center and was attended by faculty, students and the volunteer activist and participants of the march. The event included a panel discussion spearheaded by professors, speakers, performers and a video chronicling the daily life of an undocumented student.

Also, testimonials provided by undocumented students told of some of the struggles they encountered as AB 540 students. Two of them, currently enrolled at CSULB are AB 540 students, while the third graduated from CSULB a year prior.

The three testimonials presented different perspectives and different facets of the lives of undocumented students. The testimonials proved to be the highlight of the evening. The university graduate told of the struggles faced by undocumented students who’ve graduated and the inability to find a job for lack of proper documentation. Another student was a prospective graduating senior in the current Spring semester and told of the anxiety and desperation of an uncertain future. The third was a recent transfer to CSULB who also expressed the sentiment of anxiety and uncertainty, but with a dash of hope in light of the new presidency.

The event was capped off with a candlelight vigil to commemorate the lost lives of migrants crossing or immigration-related deaths at the U.S. – Mexico border.

Organizer said their goal of marching to Washington was to persuade President Barack Obama and members of Congress to deliver on campaign promises on the issues of immigration reform. During the event at CSULB, Morones identified three key issues that are at the forefront of the agenda sought by his group and others from the pro-immigration movement. 1) Stop construction on the border fence, 2) end the raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and 3) enact legislation for just and humane immigration reform.

Morones cited that the building of the wall, referred to as the “Wall of Shame,” is causing migrants crossing the border to seep into deserted territories and is one of the main reasons the death toll of migrant crossers has reached an unfortunate level.

“We have got to continue to take action,” Morones said. “The person that is going to make the change is the person that you look at in the mirror every morning. Each one of us has to take action and rise up.” ¶

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