The battle for immigration reform took a major step forward when an estimated 200,000 gathered at the National Mall in Washington DC to call for speedy passage of reform legislation. In the absence of an official number from park police, the Washington Post reported the 200,000 number.
Despite the fact that media attention was on the health care debate in the Capitol, the estimated size of the crowd was a huge success for organizers and an indication that grassroots sentiment on the issue is strong form coast to coast.
There were many Irish among the marchers. The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform had backed the march and are actively engaged in efforts to help the 50,000 estimated Irish undocumented in America.
President Barack Obama promised those who rallied that he is committed to working with Congress on a comprehensive bill to fix a "broken immigration system."
He made the comments in a videotaped message on giant screens to the thousands of marchers. Obama warned of the cost of doing nothing. He said problems with the immigration system include families being torn apart, employers gaming the system and police officers struggling to keep communities safe.
He stated that he would do "everything in his power" to forge a bipartisan consensus on immigration reform this year.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez, head of the Hispanic lobby, stated that if those present looked on the march as the culmination of the struggle it would be major mistake. He said it was merely at the beginning.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore