WASHINGTON — Hundreds of people from across the country marched, sweated and called for lawmakers to end the push for “amnesty” on Capitol Hill Monday.
Organized by the Black American Leadership Alliance, the protestors marched in scorching heat from Freedom Plaza to Capitol Hill, where they rallied in a demonstration against current immigration reform attempts.
“There are three kinds of people who support this amnesty,” Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said before the march. “There are those people who are elitists, who want the cheap laborers to clean their houses and mow their lawn. Another are political power brokers that want the power that comes from it, and the third are employers of elitists.”
Rep. Steve King addresses the crowd gathered at Freedom Plaza.
Lawmakers and activists joined the marchers from states as far as California and Arizona in a long rally at the Upper Senate Park, where activists spoke about the Senate immigration reform’s expected effect on America and, specifically, the plight of black Americans and American workers.
Marchers carried signs reading “No Amnesty,” “American Jobs for American Worker“ and “Secure the Border.” At least one sign harkened back to Benghazi: “Where are the Benghazi survivors? Impeach Obama.” Many wore red t-shirts reading “Protect American Jobs, No Amnesty.”
The relatively diverse crowd featured many Tea Party supporters who donned their Tea Party garb and flags.
King walks with Michael Cutler, a senior fellow at Californians for Population Stabilization.
“We have come to ask [lawmakers] to do not throw poor and black people under the bus in order to garner Hispanic votes,” said O’Neal Dozier, senior pastor at The Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, Florida as he kicked off rally speeches.
Two members of the Alabama delegation joined in rallying the crowd — Republican Rep. Mo Brooks and Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Brooks called for people embrace facts rather than emotion to see “why the Senate immigration bill must be stopped at all costs,” and argued that America has been one of the “most compassionate and generous and kind-hearted nations in the world when it comes to immigration. But we can be compassionate and still stop something that goes to such great excess that it is a danger to our country.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions addresses the large crowd gathered at the Upper Senate Park, arguing that immigration reform must address the needs of taxpayers.
Sessions spoke about the need to shape immigration reform policy so it betters the economic situation of American taxpayers.
“We need an immigration policy that serves the American worker and the American taxpayer,” Sessions said. “We need an immigration policy that creates higher wages — not lower wages. We need an immigration policy that promotes upward mobility and financial independence. We need an immigration policy that helps our struggling citizens find good-paying jobs that can support their families and lift up their communities.”
Sessions said that the Senate-passed immigration reform bill benefits a few CEOs at the expense of American workers.
“With all due respect to Karl Rove, Mark Zuckerberg and the Chamber of Commerce, there isn’t a shortage of workers in America,” he said. “There is a shortage of jobs. But what does the Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill do? It creates immediate amnesty and a mass increase in low-skilled immigration.”
The mention of Rove, Zuckerberg and the Chamber of Commerce’s names evoked boos from the crowd.