Immigrants Use May Day for Legalization Push

Immigrant activists will use May 1, International Workers’ Day, to protest what they see as the shortcomings of the proposed immigration reform bill, including that it will take 10 years for many to obtain legal residence. (Photo courtesy of Migrant Power Alliance via El Diario La Prensa)

On May 1, International Workers’ Day, thousands of immigrant workers will not only reclaim their rights, they will also raise their voices in unison to demand fair immigration reform.

A large part of the protests and events that the New York immigrant community usually organizes will center around the recent immigration reform bill presented just a few weeks ago, and the effects it will have on workers.

Some of the participating groups will use May 1 to express their disagreement with the bill – already known officially as S. 744 – because they consider it clearly inadequate.

“This bill would make the legalization process so expensive and so drawn-out that it wouldn’t benefit the majority of the 11 million undocumented people in this country,” said Teresa Gutiérrez of the May 1 Coalition. “It only reveals the interests of the dominant class and aims to control salaries and workers.”

The May 1 Coalition and other groups voiced their concerns during an April 28 press conference outside the offices of Sen. Charles Schumer, one of the eight members of the bipartisan group that drafted the bill.

“Although I can legalize my status through this bill as a Dreamer, I won’t accept it while my parents and my brother can’t,” said Denise Romero of the Migrant Power Alliance. Romero complained that the bill is not what they had been fighting for all these years.

Those participating in the demonstrations believe that legalization doesn’t have to be contingent on such strict requirements.

“We aren’t criminals. All we want to do is take care of our families,” declared Margarito López, a baker and member of the Laundry Workers Center. “We aren’t asking for legalization; we’re demanding it.”

The bill also received criticism for excluding LGBT families and seeking to attract highly qualified workers from other countries before legalizing those who are already here in the United States.

Fil-Am groups prepare for May 1 immigration rally

The Asian Journal also reported on Filipinos joining May 1 demonstrations and voicing their opposition to the proposed bill.

FIL-AM groups are ramping up for [May Day] rally, planning to send a loud message to Congress about its newly-created comprehensive immigration reform bill.

They don’t like it.

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