More than a hundred immigrants rights supporters rallied today at Nashua City Hall and marched to the offices of Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen to call for reforms centered on a clear and direct path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the USA.
Rally speakers included Eva Castillo of the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees; the Rev. Tom Woodward of the Granite State Organizing Project; Juan Zamudio, a student at Derryfield School in Manchester; Marisol Saavedra, a Nashua student; and Carols Escobar of SEIU Local 615.
“In many years of working across the US, I saw time and time again bosses use the broken immigration system to mistreat, intimidate, underpay and over work undocumented workers,” said Escobar, an Ecuadoran immigrant who works as a janitor in Nashua.
“When employers pay lower wages to some workers, all workers are affected and standards are lowered for everyone,” the Local 615 member added.
Participants included union members, faith community leaders, and other social justice activists adding their bodies and voices to the movement calling on Congress to act now for humane immigration policies.
Following the brief rally, the crowd marched north into Nashua’s downtown shopping district and crossed over to the east side of the road by the office of Senator Kelly Ayotte. There, they taped a giant letter to the window, where marchers added their signatures to a statement calling for commonsense immigration reform that fosters unity.
“The time for action is long overdue and there is bipartisan agreement on moving forward,” the statement said. “A reform package that includes a path to citizenship makes economic sense and is true to our ideals as a nation. Taking action now makes sense politically, as well, since the American public supports immigration reform.”
Marchers continued northward to Senator Shaheen’s office where another letter was taped to the window for signatures.
The program concluded with a statement from Germano Martins, a member of the State Employees Association (SEIU Local 1984) followed by a prayer led by the Rev. Sandra Pontoh of the Maranatha Indonesian United Church of Christ.
The organizing committee included SEIU Locals 615 and 1984, the NH AFL-CIO, NH Civil Liberties Union, Lutheran Social Services, the Granite State Organizing Project, the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, the United Church of Christ Immigration Working Group, and the American Friends Service Committee.
Another rally will take place at State House Plaza in Concord at noon on Wednesday, May 1.