LAX pro-immigration caravan calls for congressional and executive action


Vincent Medina

SEIU Labor Organizer, Felipe Caceres, gives a powerful speech to the pro-immigration caravan. SEIU and several other organizations called for immigration reform during the caravan at LAX on Jan. 27.

Vincent Medina

A caravan of approximately 150 vehicles rode through LAX International Airport on Jan. 27 to call for President Biden’s immigration reform bill’s congressional approval. The president’s bill would carve a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

The protesters chose Jan. 27 in response to the fourth anniversary of the “Trump Muslim ban,” which stopped immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. The Biden administration has repealed the ban.

Vehicles lined up along the corner of Century and Avion Blvd., in front of the LAX shoehorn. At 10 a.m. they rode in their cars, honking their horns and raising demands for congressional action on Biden’s immigration bill.

Some onlookers in the terminal also held up signs with calls for new immigration policies.

They choose to do a caravan to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. Organizers outside wore masks.

Immigration reform organizations that sponsored the event included We Are All America, International Institute of Los Angeles, Arab American Civil Council, No Muslim Ban Ever, MPower Change, Never Again Action – Los Angeles, Council on American-Islamic Regulations (California) and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights.

They used the #YestoRefugees, #AllofUs and #NoMusliumBanEver to raise awareness.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) labor organizer Felipe Caceres addressed their calls to action.

“The reality is that Biden has announced a day one immigration bill, but that bill has not been acted upon,” Caceres said. “We support the day one immigration bill, but we support it going through congress and becoming a law.”

We Are All America refugee organizer Anahita Panahi’s family was separated by Trump’s travel ban. They can see each other again since the ban was lifted.

“I’m an immigrant. My parents are from Iran, which is one of the countries on the travel ban. I have family in Iran who were banned from coming to the United States, and I could not visit them because of the tension between the two countries.”

“Once things cool down with the pandemic, we look forward to seeing each other again. We want to make sure that Biden comes through on his promise for immigration reform,” Panahi explained.

MPower Change Organizing Director Ishraq Ali stated that protests took place across the country that day supporting immigration reform.

“This is part of a coordinated effort of national actions that are happening. Right now, as we speak, there is an action happening in Washington D.C., there is another in Atlanta, GA, Seattle, WA and Denver, CO,” Ali explained. “Our idea is that we are coming together as several immigrant communities to demand that our safety and protections are recognized by our elected officials.”

Some members of Congress have worked with these immigration reform organizations to pass progressive legislation.

“Representative Pramila Jayapal of WA is introducing the ‘Roadmap to Freedom’ legislation that has many regulations and protections for immigrant communities, reforming the immigration system and stopping surveillance of our communities,” Ali stated. “Congresswoman Judy Chu of CA was also one of the congressional sponsors when we tried to pass the “No Ban” act in Congress last year.”

Ali could not recall any Republican congress members who supported their proposed legislation.

Law enforcement observed the caravan but did not interfere with the peaceful protest as it rolled through the LAX shoehorn.

These organizations did not disclose any plans for future protests.