Area immigrants send message to Congress

Drums beat and flags flew on Market Street as thousands of immigrants and their supporters marched in support of legal rights for immigrants on Labor Day.

The crowd of approximately 3,000 shouted, “Si se puede” [“It can be done”] as they left the intersection of Market and Spear streets Monday morning, heading for a rallyat Civic Center Plaza.

“We’re trying to re-energize before Congress reconvenes,” said Evelyn Sanchez of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition. “We want to re-energize the people. We have a good fight to win.”

When the U.S. Congress returns to work this week, members are scheduled to consider two bills: a Senate bill designed to provide a method in which illegal immigrants could attain citizenship and a House bill focused on enforcement and security measures.

There were similar rallies in Oakland, San Jose and Los Angeles on Monday, as well as in Arizona and Texas. San Francisco police said there were no arrests during the event.

Neither the San Francisco rally nor rallies in other cities drew as many participants as did similar events in the spring, which saw many more thousands in the streets.

The lower turnout was a result of the holiday weekend and a less well-planned campaign, organizers said.

Supervisor Chris Daly rallied the crowd Monday when he said it’s imperative to join the struggle for immigrant rights, tying it in with a local contract battle between hotel workers and 13 San Francisco hotels.

Eighteen-year-old Stephany Sedlmayer, a freshman at San Francisco State University from Castro Valley, said immigrants are under attack.

Sedlmayer, whose parents hail from Guatemala, said it’s much easier being born here than coming here from another country.

“It’s easier for us. We grew up with the language,” she said.

mcarroll@examiner.com

AP contributed to this article.

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