Thousands of grassroots activists from all around the country descended on Washington, D.C., on Monday for the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) March For Jobs, a movement against amnesty aimed at defeating the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill.
The activists convened at Freedom Plaza early and several speakers rose up against amnesty there before they marched from the downtown landmark near the White House up Pennsylvania Avenue onto Capitol Hill. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) spoke at Freedom Plaza and then led the march through the capital to Congress.
“We have a great country,” King said at Freedom Plaza. “Our Founding Fathers framed it for us. Their job was harder than ours is. They had to identify the pillars of American exceptionalism. We just have to defend them.”
“The rule of law,” King continued. “You can’t be a great nation without the rule of law. And you can’t have amnesty and still have the rule of law. All Democrats and Independents in the Senate believe there ought to be amnesty. Some Republicans think that also.”
King then went on to debunk the argument that legalizing America’s illegal aliens is not “amnesty.”
“Whatever our heart says about people that want to be Americans but sought about doing it the illegal way, we can’t give them legal status without sacrificing the rule of law,” King said. “Legalization ends up in citizenship no matter how and when you define that that happens. If you are going to grant citizenship as a reward for breaking the law, you have granted amnesty.”
King joked that “we’ve had a little bit of difficulty defining that term ‘amnesty’ because the other side is seeking always to redefine it. So let me just tell you, here’s amnesty: ‘Amnesty’ is a pardon and a reward. Amnesty is a pardon for immigration law breakers and a reward for their violation of our laws.”
After King spoke, he led the thousands of activists to Capitol Hill.
Once on Capitol Hill, King and several other lawmakers and activists spoke out against the bill.
“With all due respect to my good friend Karl Rove and our friend Mark Zuckerburg,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said during his remarks, the mention of Rove and Zuckerburg prompting boos from the crowd, “and the Chamber, there is no shortage of workers in America. There’s a shortage of jobs in America.”
“This is a hammer blow to American families,” Sessions added later in his speech, to loud applause. “This is a hammer blow to American families who are hurting in today’s job market. It just is. The House must not negotiate with the Senate bill.”