Several thousand AFL-CIO and SEIU sponsored pro-amnesty demonstrators began rallying on Capitol Hill on Tuesday afternoon around 12:30 PM to call for Congress to grant legal status to America’s at least 11 million illegal immigrants.
The size of the crowd suggest the organization that put on the rally, the Center for Community Change (CCC), under-delivered on its promise to have “hundreds of thousands” attend the rally; the group tweeted on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday morning that it expected “hundreds of thousands” of people to attend.
Several members of Congress are in attendance at the event, including GOP Reps. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is expected to join the event soon as well, an organizer confirmed to Breitbart News.
Scores of Democratic House members also began arriving shortly after 12:30 PM on golf carts. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is scheduled to speak as well, as are many different labor union officials. Washington, D.C. mayor Vince Gray is slated to address the group too.
Illegal immigrants and union members have been chanting “Si Se Puede!” the Spanish slogan of the United Farm Workers which President Barack Obama adapted for his “Yes we can!” campaign slogan.
The event on the National Mall, which is supposed to be closed because of the ongoing government shutdown but to which the Obama administration granted exception for today’s rally, is heavily funded by organizations like the labor unions and amnesty special interest lobbyists sponsoring it. At least four jumbotrons and an elaborate setup of port-a-potties, special event fencing, tents, and raised and lighted stages are set up across the National Mall.
AFL-CIO, SEIU, and Casa De Maryland organizers are walking around in groups, wearing orange vests labeled with their organization’s namesake printed on them.
Referencing how union dues from working class American citizens are being used to help fund this rally, a congressional GOP aide told Breitbart News, “It is utterly shameful that these big money interests have fooled so many they’re trying to hurt into helping them.” If amnesty were to pass, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and many other high-ranking economists expect wages of American workers to be driven down while similarly expecting unemployment to go up.
In a statement released as the rally was about to begin, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that this is unfair to American workers. “Why are businesses laying off thousands and then spending a fortune to lobby for ‘comprehensive immigration reform’?” Sessions said. “That’s because, in Washington, ‘comprehensive reform’ means increasing the number of immigrant workers to reduce the cost of labor.”
“The Senate bill would double the number of guest workers and add 30 million mostly lower-skill legal immigrants over the next ten years. Today’s rally is designed to pressure the House to pass similar legislation,” he explained. “There’s something odd about House leaders like Nancy Pelosi protesting on the Mall to get jobs for illegal aliens and pushing legislation to reduce job opportunities for US citizens. The House must resist calls to replace struggling workers and instead fight for the public interest and to restore our shrinking middle class.”