The biggest demonstration of the weekend had nothing to do with health care. An estimated 200,000 people joined together on the National Mall in a march for comprehensive, sensible immigration reform. You might not know anything about this, but rest assured it happened. There are pictures and everything.

I really feel for the organizers of this event. They had planned the March 21 event for months. Bad luck and bad timing led to them getting shoved aside in the media conversation in favor of the health care bill. For the conspiratorially minded among us, to believe that this was deliberate is to believe that someone inside the Congressional Budget Office really hates immigrants and orchestrated the delay in their analysis of the health care bill.

Organized by Reform Immigration for America, the rally brought together groups from around the country — including Service Employees International Union, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Democracia Ahora and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles — to send a message to lawmakers: “The time for immigration reform is now.”

President Obama delivered a message from the big screens in the crowd in which he assured the demonstrators of his commitment to passing comprehensive immigration reform.

Political speakers at the march included Luis Gutierrez, Yvette Clark, Joe Crowley, Mike Honda and Sen. Robert Menendez, not only the Senate’s only Latino but the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The message of the marchers? Stop the deportations that separate families, and come up with a humane, sensible plan to overhaul the broken immigration system and bring millions out of the shadows.

America’s Voice offered a multitude of updates on the day of the march. They are the among the leading immigration reform groups in America.

As for the possibility of quick action on this, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham released a draft last week for an immigration reform package that was sadly insufficient in many areas, and included a punitive national ID card with biometric data. And even that stands little chance of passage in the Senate. The xenophobic forces of the status quo have already won this fight once, in 2007, and that was with multiple Republicans on board and a Republican President. Clearly that same level of support will not be evident.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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