The Immigrant Rights Marches (Las Marchas): Did the 'Gigante' (Giant) Wake Up or Does it Still Sleep Tonight?
51 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2008 Last revised: 23 Apr 2008
Date Written: April 18, 2008
This article documents the genesis of the March 2006 immigrant rights protests and analyzes their impact. Las Marchas were truly spontaneous grassroots protests, the largest massive civil rights mobilization effort for a single event in the United States to date. This paper provides a macro- and micro-analysis of the forces that account for this success. First, the catalyst, HR 4437, a bill that was successfully approved by the House of Representatives would have criminalized illegal presence. This law was perceived as unjust, and engendered a debate around immigrant rights debate in terms with universal and simple appeal, human dignity, the inherent worth of labor, and immigrants' yearning for belonging in America. Second, the Spanish media, students and labor were key mobilizers. At a micro-level, the paper documents how the marches unfolded in Las Vegas, Nevada. Students, churches, home town associations and organized labor forged a coalition that turned out an estimated 63,000 on March 6, 2006, who closed down the Strip. The paper concludes that the most enduring legacy of las marchas may be a new attitude among Latina/os toward political participation and civic involvement.
Keywords: immigration, social movements, civil rights, critical race theory, latcrit theory, latina/os
JEL Classification: J11, J7, K1, K19, Z1, Z10, R2, R23, R1, R11, N3, N
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation