In preparing for what is becoming an annual event, organizers of Mountain View's May Day march for immigration reform are seeking to ride a wave of momentum.
"More people are convinced that immigration reform is really badly needed," said Day Worker Center director Maria Marroquin. "There is more awareness about needing to stop deportations."
Last year's event drew 600 participants through a network of churches concerned about the issue. Organizers include residents Sylvia Villasenor, Job Lopez and Lupe Garcia, and the event is backed by several Catholic Church leaders, the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center and several elected offiicals. The march starts at Rengstorff Park at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, and ends with a rally in front of City Hall.
Marroquin said there is now an effort to have President Barack Obama sign a second executive order to give temporary relief to undocumented immigrants, this time to parents of the "DREAMers" who were given temporary relief by a 2011 executive order allowing immigrants age 30 or younger who were brought here before they were 15, to go to college and apply for citizenship, among other things.
Executive orders, however, don't allow undocumented immigrants to vote, Marroquin said.
"We are part of this community and we should be able to vote on local issues," Marroquin said.
Resident Desmond Brand recently wrote to the Voice to highlight the frustration residents like himself have with not being able to vote. He pointed to U.S. Census data from 2008 to 2012 that says that 37.9 percent of the city's population was foreign-born.
Brand said he and others won't be able to vote for City Council candidates in November or vote for a minimum wage increase (if the City Council chooses to put such an initiative on the ballot in November).
Marroquin noted that there is one city that has decided to enfranchise immigrants, Maryland's Takoma Park, which enacted legislation 20 years ago allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in city elections.