Around 200 people converged on Philadelphia’s Love Park Sunday in a rally for immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally.
As participants gathered to march from South Philadelphia’s Italian Market, vendors came to the doors of their shops. Visitors stopped on the corners to watch an Aztec dance troupe performing in the street.
The marches and rally, held in English and Spanish, are part of a growing effort on the part of the city’s Latino communities to achieve greater visibility.
An organizer with the nonprofit Juntos, Adriana Arvizo says immigrants in Philadelphia know immigration reform is coming.
“The reason that they are mobilizing, organizing, bringing their voices to the street is like public pressure,” Arvizo said.
Latino residents of Philadelphia, including illegal immigrants, continued to arrive to march with the dancers to the gathering in Center City.
The rally was less diverse than the city’s immigrant population.
However, the Latino leaders’ goal of increased visibility is meant to put pressure on Congress and President Obama to forge a deal on immigration in Washington.
Many of these immigrants, since they’re not citizens, are not part of the country’s growing Latino voting bloc. The plan is to show their numbers even if they can’t deliver as large a presence at the polls.