(August 2013 photo of immigration reform proponents marching down Independence Ave. just off of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call))

Thousands to gather in National Mall for massive immigration rally, march

There might be a shutdown in Washington, but it is not stopping a massive rally in the nation’s capital to ask Congress to pass immigration reform.  On Tuesday the Camino Americano: March for Dignity and Respect will harness the power of national civic and labor leaders, entertainers, legislators and immigrants rights activists, but also the voices of DREAMers and children of undocumented immigrants.

The rally and march will start at 12pET with a reading of names of those who have died crossing the border.  The rally will also include music from entertainers like Los Tigres del Norte and Lila Downs, speeches from legislators such as Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and Florida Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, prayers from religious leaders and speeches from children whose parents have been deported.

RELATED: National Day for Dignity and Respect puts immigration in the spotlight

Around 3pET, the CEO and President of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Janet Murguia will introduce Illinois Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez and other members of Congress before a march to the Capitol.

Tuesday’s event is a culmination of events around the country as advocacy groups, businesses, religious organizations and individuals organized events in 40 states and over 150 locations – including marches, rallies, prayer vigils, community gatherings and concerts – on Saturday, October 5th, the National Day for Dignity and Respect. 

While the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill in June, immigration reform has stalled in the House.

RELATED: Immigrants around the country unite for National Day for Dignity and Respect 

In early September, labor leaders, immigration reform activists and legislators announced their intention for Tuesday’s rally.

“We have over 218 votes in favor of reform,” said Illinois Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez when the national mobilization was announced.  ”But what’s important is that we continue demanding from the outside; nothing occurs inside Washington DC without demands from outside Washington DC.”

Speaking about his participation in an immigration march in Illinois on October 5th, Benito Gomez said that due to his status, he had not been able to see his wife and children for almost ten years.

“I deserve an opportunity. I am a working man, who has always paid taxes and contributed to this country just as much as any other American,” he said.

“We all have different stories and walk for different reasons,” Gomez said. “But at the end of the day what we all want is justice.”

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