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Protesters block Golden Gate Bridge to mark ’20 years of failed promises’ on immigration reform

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A group of protesters temporarily blocked traffic along San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to bring attention to what they called “20 years of failed promises” on immigration reform, including the lack of providing a clear pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrants. 

Footage shared on social media showed demonstrators driving onto the bridge before parking and exiting their cars around 7 a.m. and leading chants in support of the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently estimated to be in the U.S.

One video showed people at the front of the demonstration along the northbound lanes holding up a banner reading, “Override the Parliamentarian,” referring to the protest organizers’ demand for Senate Democrats to challenge the decision made Wednesday by Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough to remove immigration components from the proposed $3.5 trillion social spending package. 

The demonstration Thursday morning was led by the Bay Area Coalition for Economic Justice and Citizenship for All, which said in a statement shared with local news outlets that “the time to deliver economic justice, climate justice, and citizenship for all is now.”

“We demand that Vice President Harris and top Democrats in Congress override the decision by the unelected Senate parliamentarian which excludes undocumented immigrants from the budget reconciliation process,” the group added. 

The demonstration lasted for about 30 minutes before a fleet of tow trucks were filmed arriving on the bridge to take away protesters’ cars that had been parked there. 

Activists told the San Francisco Chronicle that the protest had been timed to coincide with a possible Thursday vote on the reconciliation bill, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said early in the afternoon that she was moving ahead with a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill without a firm deal on the reconciliation measure. 

While progressives in the House have threatened to block the infrastructure bill unless progress is first made on Democrats’ larger social spending package, Pelosi had promised moderates that a vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill would take place Thursday. 

Federal lawmakers have initiated several attempts to pass sweeping immigration reform over the past two decades, including one in 2013 that would have legalized millions of undocumented immigrants. 

However, the bill died in the House due to fervent opposition from Republicans. 

Luis Angel Reyes Savalza, who is part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, told the Chronicle Thursday, “The immigrant community has endured a politics of fear from both Democrats and Republicans over the last 20 years, from horrific family separations, to for-profit detention which has skyrocketed beyond recognition, inhumane treatment inside detention centers and caging children at the border.”

Tags California deferred action for childhood arrivals Illegal immigration Immigration reform Nancy Pelosi path to citizenship San Francisco San Francisco Chronicle
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