Despite recent examples of strict behavior by the National Park Service, including the temporary eviction of an elderly couple from their Nevada home and an attempt to block WWII veterans from visiting their memorial in D.C., the government organization has given approval for an immigration reform rally scheduled to take place on the National Mall. The site of the rally, a major tourist D.C. destination due to its housing of the district’s numerous free museums, has been closed due to the budget deliberations taking place in Congress that have caused the current government shutdown.
Signs outside the National Mall inform visitors that the area is off-limits until the government resumes its normal operation. Still, around 30 members of Congress are expected to attend the rally, most notably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is scheduled to speak at the event.
The rally is called “Camino Americano: March For Immigration Reform,” and organizers of the event have already been spotted setting up on the National Mall. Susana Flores, spokeswoman for the rally, told the Washington Examiner that protestors will be protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, despite the current nature of the government and the National Mall.
The official website for the rally estimates that “tens of thousands will come to the National Mall to share stories of suffering and strength and demand passage of commonsense immigration reform.”
While the event is likely to be a significant demonstration of clear support for the rights of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, Congress is undoubtedly focused on other issues, with the argument surrounding the Affordable Care Act stuck in a stand-still and the budget deficit deadline looming. The National Mall is officially ordered to remain closed (for those not undergoing massive protests, apparently), until the government shutdown ends.