Notes from the Capitol Lawn: My Day at La Gran Marcha

Published on April 15th, 2013

On April 10, the day approximately 10,000 demanding immigrants marched on Washington D.C., I was at the scene. Here are some of my observations.

Many fewer demonstrators showed up than usual. Several reasons may explain the small turn out. The most likely is that President Obama’s prosecutorial discretion and deferred action for childhood arrivals program has already provided quasi-amnesty for thousands.

And assuming the target audience has a television set, a radio or reads the newspaper—especially the Spanish language media—they may have erroneously concluded that passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill is a mere formality.

I heard little English. The typical participant was mid-30s; many turned the day into a picnic or a business opportunity. Dozens sold sodas out of coolers and hawked flags from different nations. Several primary school children said that their teachers gave them signs that read: Reforma Migratoria Ahora.

Most arrived at La Gran Marcha on buses their unions provided, notably the Service Employees International Union, at no cost to the participants. If you’d had never been to Washington D.C. and someone offered you free transportation, told you that you’d be sitting on the Capitol lawn and might be part of history, you’d sign up too, no  questions asked. 

One American-born man told me that his trip was mandatory. With his co-workers, he boarded the bus in Flint, Michigan, traveled about 12 hours, spent the night at a Hilton and returned home immediately after the demonstration ended.  Asked to comment on his personal feeling about amnesty, he said, “I’m not the right person to talk to.”

An hour before the crowd gathered, I went to Senator Marco Rubio's office to speak to two legislative aides. CAPS had run a Save Our States ad in Florida directed at Rubio’s amnesty support despite the state’s 20.6 U-6 unemployment rate, the nation’s 15th highest. See the ad here.

An aide told me, falsely as it turned out, that Senator Rubio would walk away if all of the enforcement triggers were not in place. But he added, oblivious to the gathering aliens basking in brilliant summer-like sunshine, that getting illegal immigrants “out of the shadows” is important.

The fateful showdown between open borders zealots and patriotic Americans begins this week. On Tuesday, the Senate is expected to drop its 1,500-page bill. Although the week's schedule is in constant flux, a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing planned for Wednesday is rumored to have been pushed back to Friday with a second hearing possibly occurring Monday. As of this posting, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is the only confirmed witness.

Obama’s staff has helped write the bill. Anyone who disagrees with the Gang’s amnesty legislation is shut out. Most important, the law enforcement community and  especially Immigration and Customs Enforcement, had the door slammed in its face.

Said ICE union president John Morton: “We have tried for weeks, unsuccessfully, to get a meeting with the Gang of 8 in order to share our deep concerns about the breakdown of interior enforcement in America.” [1,500- Page Immigration Bill to Drop One Day Before Only Hearing? By Matthew Boyle, Brietbart.com, April 13, 2013]

If the bill passes without meaningful opposition input —and passage is no sure thing—it would be a dark day in America’s democratic history. The Constitution including the Bill of Rights is six pages; amnesty is 1, 494 pages longer with debate stifled and no amendments allowed.






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