The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 70/No. 18           May 8, 2006  
Immigrant rights rallies persist in U.S.
(front page)
Getty Images/Scott Olson
Protesters rally April 19 at immigration detention facility in Broadview, Illinois, against raid on IFCO in Chicago.

NEWARK, New Jersey—Some 1,500 people rallied and demonstrated here April 23 in the “March for Peace and Liberty of Immigrants.” The Immigrants Rights Defense Committee of New Jersey called the action. A number of office holders addressed the rally at Lincoln Park before the march, as well as Newark mayoral candidates Cory Booker, a Democrat, and Nancy Rosenstock, running on the Socialist Workers Party ticket. “I understand your struggle and the challenge of being an immigrant,” said New Jersey Attorney General Zulima Farber. Rosenstock called for amnesty and immediate and unconditional permanent residency for all undocumented immigrants.

In San Francisco, about 10,000 people marched the same day from Dolores Park to the federal building, reported the San Francisco Chronicle, which headlined its article, “10,000 resume the battle cry… archbishop denounces enforcement-heavy House bill,” referring to Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer. A large number of Asians took part, some holding signs reading, “Remember Chinese Exclusion Act = HR 4437.” That was a reference to the Sensenbrenner bill passed by the House of Representatives, which would make it a felony for anyone to be in the U.S. without proper documents. Demonstrators took pride in their countries of origin, waving flags from nearly every Latin American country, along with Filipino, Korean, and U.S. flags.

In Washington about 100 people whose family members were deported or are about to be deported rallied in front of Congress April 24 to condemn the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act passed exactly 10 years ago under Clinton. That law expanded the powers of the immigration police to round up and deport those charged with being “illegal” immigrants, without the right to judicial review or appeal.

That day, about 200 people marched in Rockford, Illinois, after rumors spread that immigration cops might be rounding up undocumented workers there, said the Rockford Register Star. Earlier that day, dozens of students skipped school and scores of small businesses—from bakeries to restaurants—shut down while the production in others was affected as workers called in sick or didn’t show up when the rumors began circulating. “Federal law enforcement officials denied that anything major was under way,” the April 25 Register Star said.

In Toronto, some 800 demonstrators marched in a steady rain April 22 from the provincial legislature at Queens Park to City Hall to demand that the federal government halt deportations of undocumented workers and grant them permanent resident status. The action was called by Latino organizations. The day before about 1,000 workers rallied in an action called by Universal Workers Union Local 183, which organizes construction workers, to condemn the deportation of several dozen undocumented Portuguese construction workers.

More actions are planned April 29-May 1. While a number of the organizers of the April 10 mobilizations have spoken out against walkouts on May Day, many of these rallies have wide backing among workers and, in some cases, from the labor movement. The Chicago Federation of Labor, for example, is supporting the May Day rally there, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cargill announced it is closing five beef plants and two hog plants May 1 because workers will attend immigrant rights actions. The plants are located in Plainview and Friona, Texas; Dodge City, Kansas; Schuyler, Nebraska; Ft. Morgan, Colorado; Ottumwa, Iowa; and Beardstown, Illinois.

Joel Britton in San Francisco, Mike Taber in Newark, and Robert Simms in Toronto contributed to this article.
Related articles:
Immigration cops raid company, arrest 1,187 workers, deport 275
Bush: ‘No mass deportations’ Clinton: ‘Build wall along border’
U.S. immigration rises to new levels, shifts from Europe to Asia and Latin America
Stop immigration raids, deportations
May Day originated in fight for eight-hour day in U.S.  
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