Arkansas made its presence to the Historic National Day of Action Rally for Immigrant Rights with the support of different pro-immigration reform organizations, including the Catholic Diocese of Arkansas, ACORN, LULAC of Arkansas and the Arkansas Coalition for a Better Future, La Casa and the Arkansas Democratic Hispanic Caucus.
Local residents including faith organizations, business, professionals and civil activist along with the support of radio and newspapers walk out on three organized rallies.
In Little Rock, people walked out from San Edward’s Catholic Church and in ordered and calmed fashion marched to the State Capitol Building.
In Springdale, Benton and Washington Counties held a rally on April 10th at Murphy Park in Springdale.
Ft. Smith rallied on Sunday, April 9.
There is a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that offers effective enforcement, strengthens borders, and encourages people to come out of the shadows by offering a path to permanent residency.
This earned legalization is not amnesty because under the provisions of this legislation, an undocumented worker will have to pay a $2,000 fine, undergo a background check, pay any back taxes, learn English, enroll in civic education, remain employed for six years, and then, at the end of those six years, go to the back of the line to apply for legal permanent resident (LPR) status.
Undocumented immigrants are a major boost to the US economy with the combined value of their labor, their stimulus on our economy, and the taxes they pay exceeding $890 billion per year according to a UCLA study by Raul Hinojosa. In contrast undocumented immigrants only use about $43 billion in public benefits per year primarily in education and emergency health care.
As stated by LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes, “Undocumented immigrants contribute about $850 billion more per year then they cost—a huge net gain for the United States. It’s about time that we provide a legal avenue for them to come here in recognition of their tremendous contributions to our country.”
The national rally was an opportunity for immigrants and non-immigrants of Arkansas to come together and show their support of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will be fair to all, good for our economy, one that strengthens national security and encourages people to come out of the shadows and join our community with dignity.
It was a peaceful demonstration, participants and supporters wore white, display positive messages on their signage, most displayed only the US flag and avoid any form of violence.
The cities participating in the April 10th event included: Dallas, Tucson, Little Rock, Santa Ana, San Jose, Mid-Wilshire, Long Beach, East Los Angeles, Riverside, San Fernando Valley, Bakersfield, San Diego, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Telluride, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Mears, Homestead, Lake Worth, Miami, Pensacola, Chicago, Lexington, Boston, Detroit, Kansas City, Omaha, Newark, New York, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, El Paso, Houston, San Antonio, Washington, DC, and Milwaukee.