Monday, September 07, 2009

Los Angeles Immigrant Workers March for Immigration Reform

Stop the raids, amnesty now!
Support Parents and UTLA against Green Dot's corporate charter cash cows
Support Parents and UTLA against Green Dot's corporate charter cash cows
September 5, 2009. Roughly 700 workers and supporters braved 96 degree temperatures in the late summer sun during their march through downtown Los Angeles. Workers from Overhill Farms, American Apparel, and Farmer Johns called the action under the banner of "Marcha para Reforma Migratoria" (March for Immigration Reform), to demand President Obama stop both sanctions to employers, and employee verification, which have led to the mass firing of people.

Marchers carried signs demanding a halt to the firings, and chanted in unison along the route. A popular chant was "¡Obama escucha, estamos en la lucha!" (Listen Obama, we're engaged in struggle). Spirits were exceptionally high, in part due to palpable anger workers feel over what have become clear enforcement only policies stemming from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's office.

The slightly over a half mile route ended at Los Angeles' historic Pershing Square where a range speakers addressed the rally. The speakers were primarily workers from the effected workplaces. They addressed several issues including the fact that their employers were under no obligation from the government to fire their workers. They told of how employers often used this tactic to eliminate experienced workers, and replace them with lower paid workers with no benefits.

One woman's sentiments were particularly powerful:

"Many of us supported President Obama because he promised us hope, change, and immigration reform. Instead we all lost our jobs, and many of us may be deported. What sort of hope is that? I have children to feed, and now I have no job."

Nativo Lopez called on Obama and Napolitano to end punitive enforcement measures including 287(g), E-Verify, and Secure Communities immediately. Many speakers demanded the administration stop pushing talk of comprehensive immigration reform into the future and to embrace the tenets of the "Legalize America" campaign.

Another rally is planned for this October. Given the rampant increase of DHS/ICE enforcement policies as of late, there's an urgent need to continue this push back and demand legalization for all immigrants now!


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