Park Service allows immigration rally on ‘closed’ National Mall

Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-08 18:23:57-04
(CNN) — Despite the closure of the National Mall and monuments during the partial government shutdown, immigration advocates are holding a rally and concert. And some conservatives are crying foul.

The protestors, who are holding a march in favor of comprehensive immigration reform Tuesday, which is stalled in a stalemated Congress, are allowed to rally on the closed mall under their First Amendment rights, the National Park Service told CNN.

“Under the same First Amendment rights that are allowing Honor Flight veterans and their families to visit the veterans memorials on the National Mall, other groups will be granted access to the park for First amendement activities,” spokesman Michael Litterst said.

Conservative groups have voiced outrage that the rally is allowed to take place. They said there is a double standard as veterans were locked out of the World War II Memorial last week after the government shutdown.

“[T]he Democratic Administration looks immensely foolish and ham-handed in this one,” Roy Beck, head of NumbersUSA, an anti-immigrant organization, said in a statement.

Republican members of Congress aided the veterans and removed the barriers to allow the veterans to enter.

The National Park Service has furloughed more than 20,000 employees around the country, including about 300 employees who work on the mall. The agency, however, says the U.S. Park Police, which is responsible for policing the event, are not affected by the shutdown and are working “at full capacity…to protect life and property.”

The Camino Americano: Concert and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect is hosted by local and national Latino groups and two major unions — the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO.

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