Message for Immigration Reform Hits Siouxland Streets

(SIOUX CITY, IA) Hundreds of Siouxlanders marched through the downtown streets of Sioux City to send a loud message to congress - they want immigration Reform. Folks from the group, Organizing for Action, helped organize the event.

"Que Queremos? Una Reforma! Caundo lo Queremos? Ahora!"

It's a message that could be heard loud and clear throughout downtown Sioux City - people, even some of the most influential in the community, calling on congress for Immigration Reform.

"We want it now, we don't want to wait, time is running out and I think like they said before, the separation of families, the injustice that's going on in our families, it's not right. We don't need anymore separation, deportation, we need to put these people to work and they are willing to go to work," said Antonio Gomez, who's on the Board of Commissioners in Dakota County.

David Pecheco helped come up with the idea to hold a march and the non-profit Organizing for Action stepped in to get the ball rolling.

"What I'm really passionate about, the dreamers section of it cause I'm a student and I understand the struggle that they go through. A bunch of my friends couldn't go to college because of that, because they didn't have the immigration status that I had," said Pecheco.

Armando Becerril considers himself a dreamer - that term is coined after the DREAM act - a bill that has never passed. Becerril says he remembers the most recent time it came up for a vote and says he'll never forget how he felt when senators voted it down.

"Why can't you give me the opportunity. I've been doing everything right, haven't been in trouble with the law, I do what I can to contribute to society and you're saying just because you don't have these 9 numbers beside your name you can't do anything that everyone else can," said Becerril.

After marching through Downtown Sioux City, people headed to Riverside park to celebrate and enjoy Labor Day.

An Immigration reform bill passed through the US senate in June but House Speaker John Boehner says that bill will never make it to the House floor and that the house will come up with its own version of an immigration reform bill but it might not happen until late fall.

Riverside Park was also the location for the annual Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Labor Day celebration.

The union released a report today that shows minorities have higher unemployment rates.
In the fourth quarter of last year the unemployment rate for whites was 6.3%. It was nearly 10% for Latinos and 14.0% for African Americans. But the day was also one for enjoying the fellowship of family and friends and the great weather.

"I suppose just because all the people have been working, dealing with the heat. It's a day where they can all relax and just take a day off for themselves. They had some free food, they got some raffles for some prizes, the kids got some things to do, slides and bouncy deals and so its kind of a fun deal for the kids and we're just kind out here enjoying it too," said Anthony Mahlberg, who was out relaxing under a tree at the event.

Monday's event also included games, a picture booth, music and a K-9 Police Dog demonstration.