Illegals Protest, Kennedy Speaks

Today’s protest on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., could have easily been dubbed the Illegal Immigration Rally. A team from HUMAN EVENTS was there in full force, trying to make sense of it all.

What we heard was everything from the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish to Sen. Teddy Kennedy’s attempting to speak Spanish. There were not many Mexican flags present (at least that I could see), but American flags were abundant. Many signs said "We are America." One memorable said "Abra la puerta o romperé la ventana," which translated means "Open the door or I’ll break the window."

Daniel Cortez, one of the organizers of the event, told HUMAN EVENTS, "America is a land of immigrants and we must never forget where we came from. America has forgotten its sensitivity. We have short memories."

He continued: "The problem is in this country we have violated immigrants. Not just Hispanic immigrants. We have violated the Irish, we have violated the Italians, we have violated the blacks, we have violated people in general."

When asked how they were violated, he replied that immigrants get nothing and they have been violated and beaten. I then asked, "If they feel so violated then why do they keep coming?" He said they want a better life and its big business that’s using them. I said, "Why don’t they come legally?" To which he said, "They have tried to come legally," and told me to study the El Paso dissident of 1956.

He said he is not suggesting amnesty is the answer and he wants them to earn it. He said he has respect for President Bush for his compassion. Amnesty is wrong, he said, but he supports the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill. He was adamant that the House bill (H.R. 4437) is not the answer.

Amid shouts of "Si, se puede" and "USA," Kennedy spoke to the crowd. Here’s part of his speech:

"I look across this historic gathering and I see the future of America. As President Kennedy proclaimed a half century ago, we are a nation of immigrants. And today, we stand together as brothers and sisters to shape America’s destiny-old Americans, new Americans, future Americans—all joined together for the common good.

"You are what this debate is about. It is about good people who come to America to work, to raise their families, to contribute to their communities, and to reach for the American dream.

"This debate goes to the heart of who we are as Americans. It will determine who can earn the privilege of citizenship. It will determine our strength in separating those who would harm us from those who contribute to our values. It will determine our future progress as a nation and our future economic growth.

"John McCain and I have a plan. It is a strong plan. It is a fair plan. It is a plan for America’s future.I’m here today to say that we will support you, too. We will never give up. We will never give in. Hasta la victoria! Si se puede!"