Wenatchee World: Marchers call for family unity, immigration reform

About 400 people gathered in Lincoln Park Wednesday to support federal reforms that would allow the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants to work legally and pursue a path to residency and citizenship.

“Our country needs this to happen now,” West Mathison, president of Stemilt Growers, told the crowd from the park stage. His company is the region’s largest ag employer and has a big stake in securing a legal workforce.

“It would be the best economic stimulus we could ever come up with,” he said. “It means jobs, homes purchased... Stability would come to our communities.”

Some 300 supporters, overwhelmingly Hispanic, left the Wenatchee Community Center at 6 p.m. and marched on city streets with police escort to the park. They carried signs, waved U.S. flags and chanted support in Spanish and English throughout the peaceful march, which earned mostly supportive honks from many passing drivers.

Wenatchee High School drummers, dressed in street clothes, set an energetic beat througout the approximately one-mile march. The crowd at the park grew to about 400 people.

Their march was one of many across the state and country Wednesday to show support for a bipartisan immigration-reform bill introduced last month in the U.S. Senate. Discussion on the Senate floor will begin this month.

The bill provides a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants, but also requires tighter border security and an e-verify system that would allow employers to quickly check the migratory status of job applicants.

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Read the entire article by Christine Pratt in The Wenatchee World, Wednesday May 1

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