Sunday, April 30, 2006

Immigrant Rights Report:
Sunday, April 30, 2006

Why We Fight for Immigrant Rights =4-30-06, 10:06 am
By John J. Sweeney is President of the AFL-CIO

Many workers—union and nonunion—ask why unions support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Why, as one member puts it, are we fighting for the "illegals who have been taking our jobs"?

I remind them of a powerful statement from labor’s past that lives on today: An injury to one is an injury to all.

America’s broken immigration system has allowed employers to create a low-wage labor pool of immigrant workers that is easily exploitable. Employers can pay these workers less, force them to work in intolerable conditions, block their right to union representation and threaten to turn them in to immigration officials if they complain. That’s immoral.

And when employers drive down wages and working conditions for one group of workers, they harm us all. That’s not progressive rhetoric—it’s cold, hard truth. U.S.-born workers who work alongside immigrants and in the same industries suffer the same exploitation. The U.S. Department of Labor, for example, has found the poultry industry—with a workforce split about evenly between African Americans and immigrants—was 100 percent out of compliance with federal wage and hour laws. More than half of the country’s garment factories violate wage and hour laws and more than three- quarters violate health and safety laws, according to the department. If a workplace is dangerous for immigrant workers, it is equally dangerous for their U.S.-born co- workers.

Some people say we could solve this by simply keeping immigrants out of the country. But America is a nation of immigrants, made up almost entirely of European, African, Asian and South and Central American brothers and sisters who came here in previous waves of migration. Some 12 million undocumented immigrants are here today—that’s reality—and they are working and paying taxes and strengthening our economy and our culture. Here’s more reality: Globalization is not going away. Employers will do all they can to fill the jobs that can’t be exported to low-wage countries by importing low-wage workers with no ability to exercise their rights. The genie of the globalized economy is not going back into the bottle.

The answer isn’t to make immigrant workers here now disappear, or turn them into felons, as the bill passed by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives would do. The answer is to deprive employers of the means to exploit them and lower work quality for all of us. As long as immigrant workers can be terrorized by the threat of deportation or prosecution based on their status, employers can control and abuse them. But 12 million immigrant workers with the power and rights of citizenship would be vital partners with U.S. born workers in the fight for living wages, health and retirement benefits and justice on the job.

And the answer isn’t guest worker programs that U.S. employers use to turn permanent jobs that pay well into temporary jobs that offer few or no benefits, pay lower wages and chain workers to the employers that recruited them, making them vulnerable to exploitation.

Again and again employers say they need immigrant workers because U.S.-born workers won’t do the jobs. But you and I know darn well it’s slave wages U.S. workers are rejecting, not the jobs themselves.

I believe deeply that immigrant workers are our sisters and brothers and that every person who works in this country is entitled to the full range of rights and opportunities America provides. We must support immigrant workers because supporting all working people is the core of what it means to be a trade unionist. We are always—always—stronger together than when we allow ruthless employers and the politicians they own to drive wedges between us.

The AFL-CIO and our member unions demand a path to citizenship for immigrant workers and fair treatment and freedom from exploitation for all the workers of America.


Activist plugs boycott support= Apr. 30, 2006 12:00 AM
By Daniel González / The Arizona Republic

The leader of one of the immigrant rights groups promoting Monday's nationwide Great American Boycott is hoping thousands of supporters will participate in the Valley, either by staying home from work or school, or by not spending money.

That could mean significant disruptions at restaurants, construction sites, hotels and other service-related industries that depend heavily on immigrant labor. But while many have pledged support, other Latino leaders would not estimate how many will participate in the planned economic boycott and have not pushed the issue among laborers and immigrants.

Either way, interruptions in some businesses will be coupled with localized demonstrations and events aimed at calling attention to the contributions of immigrant workers as Congress debates how to treat the estimated 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants. advertisement

"We believe in order to surpass the April 10 march we need to keep 750,000 people in their homes," said Elias Bermudez, president of Immigrants Without Borders. The April 10 march and rally in support of comprehensive immigration reform was one of the largest demonstrations in the state's history and drew more than 100,000 to a downtown Phoenix march.

Roberto Reveles, chairman of We Are America, another group promoting the boycott, declined to say how many people he thinks will participate in Monday's boycott, but he hopes the number will be significant.

But random interviews conducted in downtown Phoenix with a dozen immigrants on the street suggest there is significant support. Almost all said they planned to support the boycott.

Juan Ocampo, a 34-year-old landscaper, said he plans to stay home from work Monday and not spend money. Rosa Guerrero, who owns Taqueria 3 Amigos on 16th Street in Phoenix, said she will close her business for the day in support of the boycott.

"Mexicans work so hard here in the United States," said Maria de la Luz Arroyo, 57, who plans to refrain from spending money on Monday. "We need immigration reform that gives undocumented immigrants amnesty."

Thousands around the country will join those in Phoenix with demonstrations, boycotts and rallies.

In the Valley, the more-aggressive Immigrants Without Borders is calling on supporters to stay home from school and work on Monday and not spend money. We Are America is telling workers not to risk their jobs and to support events like voter-registration drives and prayer services. It also asks students to stay in school.

Candlelight vigils: The first begins tonight with a candlelight vigil. The group is asking supporters to turn their lights off between 9 and 9:30 p.m. and during that time to stand in front of their homes with a lighted candle in honor of all workers, but in particular for migrant workers.

Demonstrations: From 9 a.m. to noon on Monday. We Are America also is organizing demonstrations at four Phoenix locations. Two demonstrations will take place at Home Depots, at 36th Street and Thomas Road and at 73rd Avenue and McDowell Road. Other demonstration locations include Trevor Browne High School in west Phoenix and IFCO Systems, where federal immigration agents conducted a raid recently.

Prayer vigils: From 5 to 8:30 p.m. Monday. Evangelical Latino pastors who are not endorsing the boycott are holding vigils. They hope to draw 1,000 to each gathering. The vigils will be held in Mesa at Pioneer Park, 526 E. Main St., and in Phoenix at Iglesia Gracia Abundante, 17602 N. Black Canyon Highway; Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 E. Jefferson St.; and Victory Outreach Church, 3423 W. Bethany Home Road.


Guest-Worker Proposal Has Wide Support =April 30, 2006
Most of those surveyed also favor stricter border enforcement and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants already in the U.S. illegally.

By Mark Z. Barabak, Times Staff Writer

Californians generally favor a carrot-and-stick approach to illegal immigration, mixing tougher border enforcement with a guest-worker program and a pathway to citizenship for those already in the United States, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll.

By a ratio of more than 3 to 1, those surveyed said they preferred a comprehensive approach to the immigration issue, which President Bush and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators advocate, rather than the more punitive legislation passed by the House of Representatives. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have spent months trying to reconcile those conflicting proposals.

Support for a broader approach to illegal immigration was shared by Californians of all political persuasions and throughout the state, regardless of where they lived. Overall, there was little difference of opinion between Latinos and whites, although Latinos were somewhat more supportive of a guest-worker program and more strongly opposed to building a fence proposed along the U.S.-Mexico border to curb illegal entry.

In general, Californians in the Times poll were marginally more supportive of a two-track approach to immigration than were Americans as a whole in a separate Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll.

But Californians also viewed illegal immigration as a bigger problem than most Americans, with 42% of the state's residents considering it one of the biggest problems facing the country, compared with 31% of those surveyed nationally.

And the concern of Californians has risen, at least as the issue affects their home state. In an open-ended question in which they were asked to identify the most important problem facing the state, 34% named illegal immigration. That compared with 13% who gave that response in a statewide survey last October, before congressional action and mass demonstrations across the country vaulted the immigration issue to heightened attention.

"It's a serious problem," poll participant Greg Hoshabekian, 53, said in a follow-up interview. Hoshabekian, a semi-retired law enforcement officer who lives in Apple Valley, said he has no confidence that politicians will find a solution. "I'll start learning Spanish, I guess."

The Times poll, which found most California voters to be unhappy with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's overall performance, also turned up poor marks for his handling of the immigration issue. The governor last year praised the freelance patrol of the border launched by the Minuteman Militia. But more recently he has condemned talk in Congress of a border fence — calling it a return to "the Stone Ages" — and advocated incentives as well as tough enforcement to address the nation's illegal immigration problem.

Overall, 49% of voters disapproved of Schwarzenegger's handling of the issue, while 28% approved. Nearly six in 10 Latinos disapproved of the governor's performance on immigration, compared with fewer than five in 10 whites.

The Times Poll, under the supervision of director Susan Pinkus, interviewed 1,863 Californians from April 21 through April 27. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 2 percentage points.

The national Times/Bloomberg poll on immigration issues was conducted April 8-11 and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

A guest-worker proposal giving temporary visas to noncitizens who want to work in the U.S. drew strong support from Californians, with 64% of those surveyed backing the proposal and 19% opposed. Three in four Latinos favored the guest-worker plan — which is the centerpiece of the Senate immigration plan backed by Bush — compared with six in 10 whites.

"They're decent human beings," said 50-year-old Deborah Dise of San Francisco, a backer of the guest-worker plan. "They're working. They're not using up the welfare system. They should be given a chance to become citizens."

Another Senate proposal, establishing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who step forward, pay a fine and learn English, was even more popular, drawing support from more than seven in 10 Californians. Fifteen percent were opposed.

Two of the provisions in the tougher House legislation fared less well. Just 32% of Californians supported a proposal that would both build a border fence and classify illegal immigrants as felons, compared with 55% who were opposed.

However, the proposal drew a sharp split along ethnic lines: more than seven in 10 Latinos were opposed, compared with nearly five in 10 whites. Although 39% of whites were in favor, 20% of Latinos voiced support.

After hearing all the alternatives, 70% of Californians said Congress should combine tougher border enforcement with a guest-worker program, compared with 22% who favored a strictly get-tough approach.

Those sentiments compared with 63% of Americans who said lawmakers should take a comprehensive approach and 30% who said Congress should focus solely on toughening enforcement of border control laws.

Greg Potnick, a 53-year-old retired police officer in Sacramento, was one of the latter.

"I think we need to secure our borders before we look at any program that rewards illegal behavior," he said.

As for how the country would deport the estimated 12 million immigrants here illegally, he said: "You start one at a time."

For full exact wording of questions along with poll results and analysis, go to:


Girl was 14, immigrant =Posted PSL 04-30-2006
By Zahira Torres / El Paso Times

Concerns over immigration issues continued this weekend after a girl who was found on the side of a highway near Fabens and later died was identified as a 14-year-old immigrant from El Salvador.
Lady Lorena Vijil Claros was taken to Del Sol Medical Center on Thursday night and died later that night.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate the cause of death as an embolism, which is caused when blood clots block an artery. A final autopsy report was not available as of press time.

"We will continue to follow up reports that she was transported into this country illegallyÉ perhaps by a coyote," or smuggler, Rick Glancey, director of public affairs for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, said in a news release.

"It appears she took ill and may have been left behind. If that is the case, we may be looking potentially at criminal negligent homicide. Right now this case serves as a reminder of the dangers of human trafficking," Glancey said in the statement.

Criminal negligent homicide is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

According to the sheriff's department, Claros asked for help after an unidentified man and woman spotted her in the 16900 block of Texas 20, which is Alameda Avenue in El Paso.

The pair took her to a home at the 1300 block of Leaf in Fabens and called 911.

Local immigrant-rights advocates said they are concerned that strict immigration guidelines lead immigrants to desperate measures, such as seeking coyotes to help them cross the border.

"This is the part of the immigration debate that gets ignored a lot," said Iliana Holguin, executive director for Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services. "We are talking about people who are fleeing their countries to avoid tragic and dangerous situations. Unfortunately, it takes something like this to make us see the tragic side of the immigration issue."

Ouisa Davis, an immigrant-rights advocate, said women who cannot keep up with a group or fall ill are particularly vulnerable to dangerous situations.

"Many times they are coming to accompany family, work or just run away from an abusive situation," Davis said, adding that she hopes an attempt has been made to reach Claros' parents. "Because of this tragedy there is a mother out there who no longer has her daughter."

Officials at the El Salvador Consulates in Houston and Dallas could not be reached for comment.
Deputies are seeking the public's help as they continue to investigate the case. Anyone with information should call 546-2280.

Zahira Torres may be reached at ; 546-6156.
Blood clot killed El Salvadoran teen


Growing immigrant-rights efforts praised =April 30, 2006, 12:43AM
For some, such progress has been a dream for years
By ERIC BERGER: Houston Chronicle

Immigrant-rights activists praised recent protests and marches in U.S. cities Saturday, saying the movement is growing beyond just a demand for the legalization of those who illegally crossed the border.

The marches, expected to resume Monday, represent a desire by immigrants to be assimilated into the American middle class, activists said.

"Immigrants are the refugees of globalization," said Maria Jimenez, an activist with CRECEN, a community-based agency that provides legal assistance and citizenship training to Latin American immigrants. Immigrants are forced to come to wealthy nations because of a lack of opportunity at home, she said.

Seen as refreshing: After decades of enduring difficult conditions, the activists said, it is refreshing to see immigrants organizing themselves.

"Many of us have dreamed about this during the last 40 years of our struggle," said Ruben Solis of the Southwest Workers' Union.

Jimenez, Solis and others participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Houston Social Forum, an organization that seeks to develop and promote alternatives to the World Economic Forum.

One speaker at the local organization's event, which was held at Texas Southern University and is planned to take place annually, called the U.S. a "hellhole."

War against immigrants?: The tenor of the discussions was harshly anti-government, with other speakers declaring the U.S. was currently fighting two wars, one against Iraq and one against immigrants.

One panel member, Lauren Gonzalez, said ignoring the plight of immigrants in the United States would prove disastrous.

A member of the group Jovenes Inmigrantes por un Futuro Mejor, or Young Immigrants For a Better Future, Gonzalez described the plight of illegal immigrant students in Texas and several other states.

Under current law, illegal immigrants can attend college and pay in-state tuition, but then cannot get a job after graduation because they don't have a Social Security number. The group is trying to pass a federal law to change the status quo.



The Unseen tell their stories through photos / Book's release will coincide with day of protest
=April 30, 2006, 12:50AM

By CLAUDIA PARSONS: Reuters News Service

NEW YORK - Unseen America is a new book of photographs taken during the past four years by doormen, drivers, nurses, garment workers and other low-wage workers — three out of four of whom turned out to be immigrants.

The book will be launched Monday, the same day immigrants and their supporters plan rallies across the country to protest a proposed law to declare illegal immigrants felons and erect a fence along much of the U.S.-Mexican border.

"May 1" — which is marked in much of the world as a celebration of workers' rights — "is rarely celebrated in this country. We thought we were going to have the only event," said editor Esther Cohen, who has long been planning the book launch party at New York's prestigious Guggenheim Museum.

100 donated cameras: Cohen, director of the nonprofit cultural group Bread and Roses, which is affiliated with a health care union, edited the book as part of a project that began four years ago with the donation of 100 cameras.

"I have always wanted to figure out a way to get people in society who don't have the opportunity to tell their stories a way to do that," Cohen said. "And it seemed like the camera was the perfect device because it transcends the problem of language."

The book shows a Latino couple dancing and smiling. There are as many family scenes of daily life as there are haunting images of hardship.

"A lot of people assume you are what your job is, taking out garbage or fixing plumbing," Sam Contreras, a building maintenance worker, was quoted as saying in the introduction to the book. "They don't realize that there's an artful soul to everybody."

'Something important': Zu Rong Li, a truck driver who was an architect in China, contributed a picture of an American flag seen between buildings. "The American flag makes me stop because it seems like such a glorious symbol of freedom," the caption reads. "My company makes military uniforms. When my truck is filled with them, I no longer feel invisible. I think I am doing something important for this country and I feel good."

The book is being published by Regan Books, an imprint of HarperCollins owned by News Corp., with a first print run of 15,000 copies.

While Unseen America did not set out to be a book about immigrants, and includes work by people who are not, Cohen said their predominance in the book is inevitable because America is a country of immigrants.

"Most of the people in this book are immigrants because they're low-wage workers," she said. "More than three-quarters of the book are people who come from another country."

About 100 workers who participated in the program planned to come to New York for Monday's event at the Guggenheim Museum in the heart of the upscale Upper East Side of Manhattan.


International Labour Day: Mexico Backs ‘Day Without Immigrants'
By Diego Cevallos

MEXICO CITY, Apr 28 (IPS) - In video rental stores in Mexico, demand has been high these days for "A Day Without a Mexican", a movie that helped inspire the nationwide demonstrations and a boycott to be held May 1, International Labour Day, by immigrant groups in the United States.

All of the video clubs contacted by IPS said that none of their copies of the 2004 film, which depicts the chaos that would ensue if California woke up one day without Mexicans (or "Latinos" in general) were presently available.

"People have been asking for the film a lot lately; I guess it's a hot issue today," said one of the clerks at a local Blockbuster store.

In Mexico, trade unions, groups of activists and lawmakers offered their total backing for the demonstrations that migrants in the United States will hold on Monday to demand amnesty for undocumented immigrants and to protest a strict immigration reform bill passed by the lower house of Congress.

Immigrant rights groups are also organising a national boycott, urging immigrants in the United States to stay home from work and school, and not to buy or sell anything on Monday. The idea is for immigrants to make their economic clout felt.

In addition, organisations in Mexico have called on people to boycott U.S. products and businesses.

"It will be a historic day for the United States, because we immigrants will make our presence felt," Raúl Murillo, with the Mexican-Latin American Brotherhood, which has offices in a number of U.S. cities as well as the Mexican capital, told IPS.

He added that "a wave of solidarity" will also come from Mexico.

Mexico's unions, which as usual will hold massive marches in the capital on May 1, said their demonstrations will be dedicated to solidarity with migrants in the United States, and to protesting meddling by the Mexican government in the internal affairs of trade unions.

Although the administration of Vicente Fox said it is in no way participating in the giant rallies planned by Latino organisations in the United States, Mexican officials have closely followed the preparations for May 1 through meetings with activists from immigrant rights groups.

In addition, Mexican officials have held conversations in the past few days with U.S. legislators and officials, to push for comprehensive immigration reform, which the Fox administration has been demanding since 2001.

A large majority of the estimated 12 million undocumented migrants in the United States are from Mexico.

Mexicans also comprise the largest group of people of Latin American origin or descent, who number around 40 million in the United States, out of a total population of 295 million.

In "A Day Without a Mexican", by Mexican director Sergio Arau, the entire Latino population of the state of California - where immigrants make up one-third of the labour force and one-quarter of the local residents - suddenly vanishes one day, creating confusion and disarray.

The comedy ends with images of U.S. border agents welcoming and hugging Mexican migrants along the border, instead of detaining and deporting them.

"A Day Without Latinos" was the theme adopted by many activists for the May 1 protests in the United States.

In March, members of the U.S. Senate reached a compromise agreement that would create a guest worker programme for 400,000 migrant labourers every year, and provide a possible path for citizenship for 10 million undocumented immigrants already living in the country. By contrast with the bill that made it through the House of Representatives in December, the Senate bill would not criminalise illegal migration.

However, the Senate compromise has not achieved consensus support.

The initial congressional debates in the United States took place in the midst of unprecedented demonstrations by millions of immigrants and activists in a number of U.S. cities.

The U.S. administration of George W. Bush, which claims to support "humanitarian" immigration reform, has sent out contradictory signals.

In a nationwide crackdown on the hiring of illegal immigrants that started on Apr. 19, close to 1,200 undocumented workers have been arrested in several cities, along with several employers.

"Employers and workers alike should be on notice that the status quo has changed," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "These enforcement actions demonstrate that this department has no patience for employers who tolerate or perpetuate a shadow economy."

Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Julie Myers declared that "Our nation's communities cannot be a wild frontier where illegal aliens and unscrupulous employers subvert our nation's laws."

Immigrant rights groups protested the raids and reported that many workers who took part in the March demonstrations suffered some kind of reprisal from their employers, or from immigration authorities.

Divisions have arisen among the organisers of the May 1 rallies. Some argue that it is better not to hold a boycott, because it could be counterproductive, while others stand by the boycott.

Murillo, with the Mexican-Latin American Brotherhood, said the diversity of views would not reduce the impact of the protests, and that "the great strength of immigrants will be demonstrated on May 1."


The immigration debate (Part V) To strike or not to strike
= Week of Apr. 27 to May. 03, 2006
By Max J. Castro

That is the question that immigrant rights advocates are debating as the U.S. Congress, back in Washington after a recess, gets ready to take up once again the issue of immigration reform.

Supporters of the May 1 strike, including the National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN) (, say striking is a way to highlight the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy and to send the message that “we cannot be silent forever. The goal of the groups behind the strike – legalization for all undocumented immigrants now – is far more ambitious than any of the bills that have been introduced in Congress.

Calling it "El Gran Paro Americano 2006," "The Great American Boycott 2006," and "Un dia sin inmigrante," organizers are asking immigrants to observe a “No Work, No School, No Sales, and No Buying” day. In addition to the boycott, NISN wants immigrants to wear white t-shirts on May 1 and to hold rallies at the site of “symbols of economic trade,” such as stock exchanges and anti-immigrant corporations.

The planned strike, which is a byproduct of this spring’s huge marches to protest the draconian anti-immigrant legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives last year, is not meeting with universal approval among immigrant rights advocates, who fear the action may alienate key political leaders and the public.

Although the case can be made that a militant action such as the proposed strike is needed to keep the pressure on and to preclude a minimalist deal that excludes many immigrants, the doubters have a point.

The strength of the marches is that they rallied and united the immigrant and Latino communities while eliciting a well-spring of support from significant sectors of the larger society as well as some expressions of xenophobia that did more to discredit the anti-immigration camp than to bolster it.

The strike, in contrast, has become a divisive factor within the Latino community and threatens to provide a convenient target for anti-immigration zealots. In Miami, for example, established immigrant advocacy organizations such as the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, nervous that striking immigrants may lose their jobs, are refraining from endorsing a strike. Meanwhile, some Haitian groups and an immigrant rights group based in Homestead are backing the action. In the Washington, DC metropolitan area the National Capital Immigrant Coalition, the main organizer of the massive April 10 mobilization, is against the strike, while Mexicanos Sin Fronteras has announced its support. California has been a hotbed of support for the strike, but Archbishop Roger Mahony, a longstanding supporter of immigrant rights who threatened civil disobedience if the harsh anti-immigrant legislation became law, has come out against a strike. Meanwhile, Cecilia Muñoz, of the National Council of La Raza, stated that her group neither supports the strike nor rejects it.

Such a level of ambivalence and division calls into question the effectiveness of the action. What impressed even recalcitrant Republicans on Capitol Hill about the marches was their massiveness and the unity of the Latino community – immigrant and citizen, documented and undocumented, Catholic and Evangelical – in its refusal to allow its most vulnerable members to be stigmatized and persecuted.

Just as problematic is the fact that while the marches focused protest like a laser on the right target – odious anti-immigrant legislation – the May 1 action strikes a diffuse blow against the U.S. economy and society as a whole. Employers of immigrants will be hit the hardest, but are they the problem or in fact the reason why most immigrants come to the United States?

One of the reasons that, even in the wake of 9/11 and despite Republican control of U.S. politics, the powerful anti-immigrant wave has been kept in check, is the combination of economic, political, and moral capital that, over many years, was assembled to resist it. Given the realities of this country today, the National Restaurant Association, whose members would be hurt by the immigrant strike, is no less a key component of the coalition than the National Conference of Bishops.

Finally, while the marches have thrown anti-immigration advocates off-balance, the May 1 action may give them an opportunity to get back on their feet. The balance in the debate between those who see today’s immigrants as embodiments of the American Dream and those who see them as aliens and criminals is a delicate one. The marches gave our side control of the high moral ground. It would be a tragedy to relinquish it for the sake of a dubious, ill-conceived expression of militancy. However noble the intentions or justified the action, the May 1 immigrant strike may amount to just that.

Sergio Arau’s 2004 movie “A Day without a Mexican” used art and humor to make the point that organizers of the May 1 action now want to underline in the kitchens, hospitals, offices, car washes, and the myriad other places where undocumented immigrants toil. Adapting the concept from the screen to the street is turning out to be problematic, however, and some immigrant rights supporters are proposing alternative ways of showing solidarity with the cause, including wearing blue ribbons on May 1.

It is important to keep the pressure on, but it is more important to do it in the right way, one that maximizes chances of short-term success and that helps build a broad-based movement in the long term. Borne of the grassroots, the nascent immigrant rights movement in the United States is showing the first sign of growing pains. At this critical juncture, it is crucial for the leaders of the factions espousing contrasting approaches to remember the crucial importance of unity and the necessity to temper the essential element of idealism with a dose of political pragmatism.


May Day to be celebrated throughout the country = Havana. April 28, 2006
JUAN VARELA PEREZ—Granma daily staff writer—

MILLIONS of workers and their families will be celebrating this May Day in small towns, sugar mill complexes, communities, and rural and city areas throughout the country.

In this latest event of revolutionary reaffirmation, people’s participation will be in response to the characteristics and conditions of every place with the discipline, combativeness, enthusiasm and punctuality that characterize our people.

In response to the call from the Central Organization of Cuban workers (CTC) and the trade unions, even the most isolated places are to have parades, marches and events under the slogan United in Defense of the Socialist Homeland, in which mass participation, joy and the color characteristic of these commemorations will predominate.


Boycott movement for May Day growing in the United States
= Havana. April 28, 2006

WASHINGTON, April 27.—More religious, social and business organizations in the United States have today promised to join the boycott planned for May Day with the aim of pressuring Congress to pass a migratory reform favorable to undocumented immigrants.

According to a Prensa Latina cable Latino leaders and activists in Phoenix, have called on the immigrant community not to work on International Workers Day or to buy any goods in commercial centers.

Representatives of the 2,000 campesinos from Texas and New Mexico have threatened to boycott employers who sanction workers who do not appear in the fields on Monday.

Quoted by La Opinión daily, Bob Charney, owner of one of the largest clothing manufacturers in California, promised that he would join the work and school boycott and abstain for shopping. "The time has come to acknowledge immigrants’ contributions to this nation," affirmed the Canadian-origin businessman.

A study by a research company has revealed that 70% of the Latino community support the stoppage.

Relevant Link:

Immigrant Solidarity Network

Happy May Day History



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