Yesterday, I and 400,000 of my closest friends went marching from Union Park to Grant Park in Chicago. The news media seem content to call it a march for “immigrants rights,” without being more specific, I think in large part because a many participants, when pressed, are unable to actually be more specific. This is what happens when you accidentally start a movement with a simple protest against a particularly ill-conceived House Bill. (Seriously, making illegal immigration an ongoing felony? Not only felonizing the act of entry, but the ongoing condition of being an illegal immigrant? A felony? Really?)

Anyway, I thought about bucking the trend and getting more specific about what “immigrant rights”, specifically we were marching for, but I realize that I would presume far too much to put words into the mouths of the hundreds of thousands of mostly-latino marchers who I joined yesterday. The movement has yet to articulate one clear defining message beyond the protest against H.R. 4437. The Chicago Tribute noted this, with some scorn, in an article yesterday (which I can’t find now, of course, because it’s hidden behind their subscribers-only area.) For right now, I think this lack of a particular proposal is forgiveable, given that what is now (correctly) called a “movement” was created less two months ago. I’m pretty sure that El Pistolero, a Chicago radio dj who was instrumental in that original protest, didn’t have any sense it would get quite this big quite this fast. So I’m willing to give them some time to craft a message, instead of just stating my view of what immigration policies might be better. After all, I’m just a law student taking a seminar on national borders who suddenly thinks that means she knows something. And I’m totally content for now to protest making illegal immigration a felony, because man, is that a bad idea.

*Though not as well known as the more popular “si se puede,” Mason and I were the proud recipients of a brief chant of “viva las gringas!” from a group of men marching next to us who were both surprised to see two white girls marching alongside them and surprised to realize we understood Spanish.

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