Speaking out for immigration rights

Thousands march for immigration rights at US Democratic convention.

Thousands of pro-immigration campaigners have marched at the Democratic National Convention in Denver to a park near Invesco Field where Barack Obama is scheduled to accept his party’s presidential nomination.

Al Jazeera spoke to some of the marchers about their experiences and their hopes for the future and why they feel an Obama adminstration could do more for immigrants rights.

Michael Rendon, Colorado, energy efficiency worker

I’m here because the US is supposed to be a land of opportunity for all immigrants. Most people here are immigrants and we should not judge people based on religion or the language they speak.

I’m here to support people that often don’t have a voice in America.

My brother’s wife is Indian and my other brother’s wife is from Morocco and so our family are immigrants – that’s what most people are in America and that’s what is so beautiful about America.

You can’t give some people rights and not others and the same opportunities should be made available for all people.

Alicia Ramirez, semi-retired nurse, Denver

My parents are from Mexico and that’s why I’m marching. I feel immigrants have been cheated out of their rights. They’ve been working and living here and to use and abuse them and force them back makes it a moral issue for me.

There’s a large detention centre in Aurora, Denver, where they hold illegal immigrants and I go out there to visit the women.

It’s totally immoral – most are heartbroken that they are separated from their families and all they have been doing is working, some for 30 years.

We’re hoping the new administration, hopefully it will be Obama, will make some corrections to the law as it’s not right.

Jose Angel Mijares from Chihuahua, Mexico

I have been working in construction for five years here, for the same company and I’m here from Mexico because most places there are poor, there is no work and no jobs.

I came here to the US – I don’t take jobs from American citizens – I’m here because I want to support my family.

We want to put the point across to whoever wins – Republican or Democrat like Obama – they must do something for these people who only come to work.

Esther Acosta, Colorado, retired teacher

I’m here because many of my students are from foreign countries and they deserve to be treated with human dignity. Many of the people here are needed for the economy because they do the jobs others won’t take and they, in turn, want to be able to feed their families – jobs like labour, busboys, cleaning houses, agriculture.

Not just the Democratic party and Obama, but all people to see we are here, fighting for human rights and it’s an American issue.

Jessica Sanchez, nurse, Colorado

I’m here to stand in solidarity for human rights and for immigrant rights.

I think Obama has a better platform for rights. I think he will make some changes and listen to people, I think he’ll take into consideration that it‘s not a race issue it’s a human rights issue.

People are afraid to leave their house for basic needs and healthcare – actions towards America treating them so poorly, faced with prejudice and threatened daily.

I’m hoping the Democratic party sees there are people here and begins this issue and won’t let it die.

Kristen Shelley-Olson, Detroit, Michigan

I’m here because everyone should have a choice of where they’re going to be and what they’re going to do. We’re all thinking that children should have a chance to grow up in America, and their parents should not be deported.

Emily, student, Seattle

I’m here to speak for those who don’t have a voice. I have the privilege as an American to come here, then I have the moral obligation to speak for those who don’t have a voice.

I’m not attached to any political side but I believe in this issue. I think from what I’ve heard from friends who are politically involved, the one thing we can do to support immigrants is to support Obama.

Source: Al Jazeera

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