Kansas City, MO – Immigrant families and their supporters marched from Kansas City's West Side to Washington Square Park near Crown Center yesterday in conjunction with rallies around the country for immigrants' rights. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports that about 500 people from around the region attended, compared to several thousand at last year's largest local rally.
The rally was organized by the Sons and Daughters of Immigrants, a group founded in Kansas City around this time last year. Speakers led group phone calls to congressional offices in Washington in support of legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. High school junior Jacqueline Ayala also attended last year's march.
TAPE: AYALA: Before it was more hype, because everybody was really excited, but now, it's time to get informed right now because we need to have people informed about the bills.
Organizer Norma Mejia says their strategy has shifted.
MEJIA: Well, actually the focus has changed in that not only is it still national but also we are now including the local, the state senators that represent us here from Kansas City in Jefferson City.
Young people spoke against a bill in the Missouri legislature prohibiting undocumented students from attending public colleges and universities. Another pending measure would authorize state and local authorities to help enforce immigration law.