Wenatchee march calls for congressional action on immigration reform

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WENATCHEE — About 75 people rallied and marched Tuesday in Wenatchee for the rights of immigrants and a path to citizenship. 

“We have a profound love for this nation, and we know why,” Wenatchee CAFE cofounder Jorge Chacón told the crowd, moving easily between English and Spanish. “… The reason that we are so proud and we love this nation is because we adhere to the fact that America is the beacon, it is the north star of all the world.”

Latinx residents in the Wenatchee Valley make up more than a quarter of the population, and the marchers gathered at Memorial Park demanded that the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress keep their promise to respect immigrant rights, and protect law-abiding immigrants from unnecessary detention and deportation.

“My husband was detained in my own house, with my children present, two of them with special needs,” said Rafaela Salas, an Ephrata resident whose spouse was arrested by immigration agents in 2019. “And from there on, I understood all the difficulties and all the struggle that immigrants face every day.”

The rally was one of a dozen organized statewide by the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network. Beyond speeches and marches, it  involved high-tech grassroots outreach, like a QR code to enable mass emails to elected representatives.

“We are here today to pressure Democrats, the people we elected last year,” said Audel Ramirez, a Yakima-based community organizer with the immigrant and refugee advocacy group OneAmerica. “Because we need them to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the reconciliation bill, and we are no longer going to wait.”

The rally proceeded from Memorial Park in a loop march along Mission Street to Spokane Avenue and back.