Hundreds of people showed their support for immigration reform in Boston on Saturday during a rally at Faneuil Hall, to pressure Congress for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws that could include a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
Organizers say around 800 immigrants, community activists, and political leaders took part in the march which concluded at the John F. Kennedy federal building which houses U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services offices and the local immigration court.
The rally was one of the first events of the "Power Up for Citizenship" initiative that immigration rights groups are launching nationwide.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Joseph Kennedy III both addressed the crowd in Boston.
"My Spanish may not be great, but it's coming from the heart," said Warren, who told the crowd her son-in-law was among the millions of immigrants who came to the U.S. in search of a better life.
"I think it's far past time we have got to have commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform," Warren said.
"We know what we need — we need a path to citizenship, we need to support our dreamers, we need to fix the visa system and, most of all, we need to help families to stay together."
Kennedy described the U.S. as a nation of immigrants, saying that the system needs to be fixed.
"A broken system has, for far too long, undermined the basic fabric of our nation," he said. "Right now we have the moment, we have an opportunity to change it."
According to the Boston Herald, Massachusetts has the seventh-largest population of legal immigrants in the country, with about 320,000 people holding green cards given to legal permanent U.S. residents in 2010.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore