A May Day to Demand Respect for Immigrants

Demonstration at Amazon’s offices to protest the company’s cooperation with ICE. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

“Workers’ and immigrants’ rights go hand in hand with human rights, and right now there is an anti-immigrant mood that is being amplified by the federal administration,” said Lovelie Tejada, explaining the reason why the organization in which she works, the New York City Immigration Coalition (NYIC), staged a protest in front of Trump Tower on 5th Avenue, along with other community, religious and labor organizations, for May 1, International Workers’ Day.

“Every year we try to unite our voices on this day, although each organization speaks with its own voice,” said Tejada. In 2019, under the Donald Trump administration, different voices were clamoring for the same goals: respect, protection and opportunities for immigrants.

Early in the morning, some 75 people convened by ALIGN NY, New York Communities for Change, Mijente, Make the Road New York, DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, among other organizations, gathered at Manhattan’s Amazon offices to protest the company’s continued cooperation with ICE.

ALIGN’s leader Maritza Silva-Farrell condemned not only Amazon’s abusive labor conditions but also their face recognition technology, which is helping ICE in deportations. “Kids are losing their parents,” she said. “This morning it was important to let them know that this is a city of immigrants.”

(…) The May 1 morning demonstration was echoed by other gatherings in the afternoon across the state, in which there were calls to increase opportunities for immigrants, for example by allowing undocumented residents to have a driver’s license. “Maybe in the city it’s harder to see the problem, but having a license is crucial for families in other parts of the state who need a car to take their kids to school, or to football practice or to go to work,” said Tejada.

(…) Another worry for the marches’ organizers is the next Census, particularly the negative impact a citizenship question that the Trump administration is trying to include in the form might bring.

(…) Bronx resident Taría Vines said that what brought her to participate in the International Workers’ Day demonstration is the movement for fair wages for restaurants and beauty salon workers, as well as free quality education and a fair contract for CUNY’s adjunct teachers.

Vines was called on by ROC United to join a march at Harlem’s North Academic Center (NAC) Plaza, and did so in solidarity with others less fortunate because she is currently making $18 per hour working as a personal assistant cook. “However, I have worked in restaurants for many years and I want everybody to have higher wages, fair wages, and to stop the sexual harassment women who depend on tips must endure.” (…)

Massive immigrant march in Los Angeles

Thousands of demonstrators marched for immigrants’ rights in Los Angeles on May Day, in a march that culminated in front of City Hall, La Opinión reports. Protesters demanded immigration reform, support for TPS and DACA beneficiaries, and an end to the policy of separating families at the border.

“In the 1990s, more than a million people from the community and working class took to the streets of East Los Angeles and marched towards City Hall rejecting Proposition 187,” said Juan José Gutiérrez, director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition. “In 1993, they took our driver’s licenses, and in 2006 we again showed up in historic numbers. But now we are not fighting a racist governor like Pete Wilson, but a racist, fascist and nefarious president.”

Gutiérrez said it is about time that Congress do their job and “bring immigration reform. We deserve it because it is us who are generating this country’s wealth.”

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