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La Jornada > Cobertura de "La otra campaña"

Nodos Comunes

.. Caosmosis ..

Rage One (blog)

viernes, mayo 05, 2006

Immigrant Rights Report: Cinco de Mayo = 05/05/2006


Toward A Comprehensive Immigration Policy by Tom Barry

Why has immigration become such a hot social and political issue in the past few years? What is the intersection between immigration policy, domestic economic policy, and foreign policy in these times of rapid economic globalization and the global war on terrorism? And what are the outlines of a comprehensive immigration reform that would resolve the immigration policy crisis, protect immigrant and worker rights, and address legitimate citizen concerns, while at the same time deflating the agenda of the hard-line restrictionists who are setting the terms of the national policy debate? This is the first of two IRC discussion papers written by IRC policy director Tom Barry that aim to contribute to a constructive discussion of these pressing questions.

See Websource:

“Our first step toward being a good neighbor is to stop being a bad neighbor.”
Published by the International Relations Center (IRC, online at © Creative Commons - some rights reserved.

About The Author: Tom Barry is policy director of the International Relations Center, and an associate of the IRC Americas Program. Email:


Analysis Of The Legalization Provisions Of The Senate "Compromise" On Immigration Reform: A Flawed, Inadequate, Anti-Worker Proposal By Peter Schey for Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law


Letter to Editor of Immigration Daily: By Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger
Digest: May 8, 2006

Dear Editor:
As an immigrant, I can identify with the desire to come to this country. While growing up, I had a dream to come to America. And since then, I have seen firsthand that the US - a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws - is the most generous nation in the world. But our generosity toward people who want to immigrate to America and work hard cannot come at the expense of securing our international borders.

The first order of business for the federal government is to safeguard our borders. Last year, I asked officials in Washington, D.C., to better fund these security requirements. As a result of my efforts, the federal government has made substantial progress in increasing the number of Border Patrol agents and expanding the technology used in border security. The cost of incarcerating illegal aliens who commit crimes is estimated at $750 million each year, an expense California taxpayers continue to bear. I have urged, and will continue to seek, more federal funding from President Bush and the United States Congress to reimburse our State for the cost of incarcerating criminal aliens. My efforts last year led to a $100 million dollar increase for the federal State Criminal Alien Assistance Program.

I also called on our nation's officials to attack the problem, not the people, in crafting a comprehensive immigration policy. I support efforts to ensure that our businesses have the employees they need but have been unable to find in our existing workforce and that immigrants are treated with the respect they deserve. While I oppose amnesty, I support a common-sense temporary worker program so that every person in our nation is documented. Immigration is an important issue that deeply affects California.

Arnold Schwarzenegger


LV unites for immigrant rights: Posted May 5, 2006
By Laura Bucio, Assistant Editor

“A day without immigrants” became a reality Monday when thousands – including a contingent from ULV – marched throughout the Los Angeles area to show their discontent with a proposed federal law that would seriously limit the rights of undocumented individuals in this country.

Most University of La Verne students attended regular classes, though some on this culturally diverse campus joined in the demonstrations.

“I wanted to participate, to do something, to be active in some way,” said Eduardo Rodriguez, a senior Criminology major. Rodriguez and seven of his classmates joined the 400,000 protestors marching in downtown Los Angeles from the McArthur Park area down Wilshire Blvd to La Brea Avenue, where demonstrators waved American flags and chanted “Si se puede!” (“Yes we can!”)
“It was unplanned (but) in a few minutes we organized (the group) to go to the march,” Rodriguez said.

Also on campus about 20 people gathered at the University mall for a teach-in to show their support.

“We wanted to share how unjust this is,” ULV Multicultural Affairs Director Daniel Loera said. “How could we as a nation have such a (negative attitude toward) immigration - the very founding of this country?”

At the sit-in, students and faculty shared their views about the current legislation along with some personal stories about how immigration affects them. “It is such a personal thing for people,” Loera said, “It impacts all of us not just the immigrant community.”

Loera had planned on attending the march on his own and was pleasantly surprised, when after inviting one student, six more showed up at his door. “The readiness and willingness to get up and go the march just like that,” Loera said, “it gave me some hope that this is a very (important) thing for students.”

Students and immigrants across the country showed solidarity by calling in sick or not showing up for work.

Here, many immigrant employees of Sodhexo, the company that provides housekeeping and food services at ULV, chose to demonstrate by wearing white t-shirts but still working Monday.

Aaron Neilson general manager of food services, said his immigrant employees value their work.
He said his employees were given the opportunity to miss work, as long as their managers knew ahead of time.

Haile Rodriguez, general manager of housekeeping expected 15 members of her staff to take Monday off, but almost everyone showed up in white T-shirts.

Loera said he was not surprised. “They don’t know the language, they don’t know the system... they (may be) afraid of being deported,” Loera said.

Some ULV employees chose to demonstrate by attending some of the local rallies. There were rallies held at local universities including the Claremont Colleges, Cal Poly Pomona and UC Riverside. Protestors also rallied throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Several chains of supermarkets, including Cardenas, Superior and Liborios also supported the boycott by closing down for the day as thousands of employees of these supermarkets participated in the march.

Some people felt the boycott was not as important as the demonstrations, since a single day will hardly have any effect in the economy.

“There (are) going to be a lot of loses, but those loses are going to occur in Latin communities,” said Rafael Pineda, 21, of Fontana, who missed work in order to attend the march. “A Starbucks in Rancho Cucamonga isn’t going to be affected.”

The march also provided the visual impact of the huge number of people who oppose the Federal bill. “It’s more the perception of the potential that I think frightens people,” Loera said, “but when individuals feel that they can be the target of a boycott there is a different feel than just seeing a mass of people.”

The Congressional bill, H.R. 4437 began to attract attention in December when it was passed by the Congress. The bill would make it a crime to provide undocumented immigrants with numerous social services. Also, the bill would authorize a the construction of a wall that would extend for miles along the U.S.- Mexico border.

Demonstrations against the bill have began shortly after the House approved it, with one of the biggest on March 26 when almost half a million people marched from Olympic Boulevard and Broadway to Los Angeles City Hall.

“From my perspective I was able to have papers, that’s the only thing that separates us,” Loera said, “it doesn’t make me any smarter than them.”

The Monday march was accompanied by a call to boycott urging people to miss school, work, and to avoid buying anything.

“It’s a very important transformation that is occurring,” Loera said. “We are really waking up and caring about our brothers and sisters, we are really recognizing we need to have our voices heard.”

Laura Bucio can be reached at Email:


Note: See Pictures at Website!

NO BUSINESS AS USUAL: Millions demand immigrant rights
Super-exploited workers revive May Day in U.S. By LeiLani Dowell
Published May 4, 2006 8:42 AM

On May 1, a “day without immigrants,” May Day—International Workers Day—was revived in the United States.

New York City
WW photo: John Catalinotto

In every state, businesses closed, workers took the day off, students walked out of schools, and a multinational sea of humanity marched and rallied to demand full rights for all.

The impact of the boycott was felt in the streets as well as in the pocketbooks of businesses that profit from super-exploited immigrant labor.

The demonstration in Chicago was the biggest protest in the city’s history. Organizers estimated the turnout at 700,000. Tens of thousands marched from schools. One high school organized transportation to the march as a “field trip.” There were two feeder marches, one from Benito Juarez High School, and another organized by the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois, and others. Colorful T-shirts distinguished union members from UNITE-HERE and the Service Employees.

WW photo: Liz Green

New York

Organizers estimated that between half a million and a million people throughout New York City overfilled Union Square in Manhattan and then marched down to Federal Plaza. New York’s diverse immigrant communities were reflected, with contingents from virtually every Latin American and Caribbean country; from China, Korea and the Philippines; from Senegal and other African countries; from Pakistan—whose shopkeepers based in NYC closed their doors for an hour—and other South Asian countries; from Poland and Ireland. Celebrities like Susan Sarandon joined speakers representing Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and New York City Councilmember Charles Barron made clear that the Black struggle is in solidarity with immigrants, and would have no part of the attempt to “divide and rule” Blacks and Latin@s. “It’s the big corporations that take jobs away,” said Jackson, “not the immigrants.”

WW photo: Lou Paulsen

Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Roger Toussaint, who is from Trinidad—released from jail on April 28 after serving five days of a 10-day sentence for leading the December transit strike—and Teamsters Black National Caucus leader Chris Silvera, who offered his union’s office as the New York May Day Coalition headquarters, both applauded the immigrant struggle. Community and anti-war organizers like Larry Holmes of the Troops Out Now Coalition, Brenda Stokely of the Million Worker March, Berna Ellorin of Bayan USA, Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Council and International Action Center’s Teresa Gutierrez also spoke.

Before imposing court buildings, thousands gathered to listen to the closing rally at Federal Plaza. Along with demanding legalization of immigrants, speakers explained how neoliberalism had driven so many from their homelands to seek work at the center of world imperialism. A sea of protesters, tens of thousands, continued marching in well after the rally ended. Traffic was forced to a standstill on the Brooklyn Bridge until police violently attacked the crowd.

Lauren Giaccone reports: “The cops then started pushing. We pushed back. A cop then punched a girl, she went down and that started a huge fight between the cops and the people. The people fought back against the brutality. The cops threw people to the ground, so hard that a metal post fastened to the ground outside of the subway station went flying. As people were on the ground, cops still beat them. ...

“We continued to march ... when scooter cops hooked around us and jumped on the sidewalk, cornering us. We had no choice but to run across the street into oncoming traffic, to avoid the brutality we just witnessed. We were at the other side ... when the[y] drove across the street and rode up onto the sidewalk yet again. This time, however, they revved their engines and pinned several of us against the wall.” (

Black community declares support for May 1 boycott.
WW photo: Cheryl LaBash

When Workplace Project organizer Carlos Canales asked the mayor of Hempstead, on Long Island, for a rally permit for 800 people, he never expected that 5,000 would show. “Labor and immigrants on Long Island changed history today,” he said. “Immigrants have brought back May Day.”

Organizers convinced more than 60 Long Island businesses to close. And they sent five busloads of people to the New York City rally. Participants cheered when organizers called for “Primero de Mayo 2007.”

The West

Los Angeles
WW photo: Julia La Riva

In the San Francisco Bay area, despite last-minute attempts by the big-business media to downplay May 1, businesses stood idle as more than 1 million people took to the streets. The day began with an East Oakland march to the Federal Building. Later, contingents of community organizations, unions, churches and student groups gathered for a “grand march” through San Francisco’s financial district. More than a thousand people rallied at the University of California, Berkeley. Demonstrators blocked the on-ramp to Route 80, a major thoroughfare. In San Jose, tens of thousands marched.

In Los Angeles the May 1 boycott and march was initiated by the Mexican American Political Association and Hermandad Mexicana Latino American. Organizers estimate the City Hall demonstration at up to one million marchers. Reportedly 72,000 students missed school. Ninety percent of Los Angeles and Long Beach port truckers did not work. Boycott participants bolstered the numbers at a later demonstration in downtown McArthur Park.

The City Hall march showed more unity than ever. The Nation of Islam provided security. Speakers included Minister Tony Muhammad of the NOI, and Pastor Louis Logan of the large AME Bethel Baptist church, as well as leaders of the Southern California District Council of Laborers, Grupo Parlamentario PRI and other Mexican-American organizations.


The streets of south San Diego overflowed. There was no business as usual. Events were held in downtown San Diego as well as San Ysidro, Escondido and Vista. In a never-before-seen show of solidarity, protesters in Tijuana shut down the U.S./Mexico border on the Mexican side. After a 500-person march in San Ysidro, youths were able to shut down the border again—this time on the U.S. side. By evening, crowds had more than doubled as people gathered in Balboa Park, where a candlelight vigil and rally was scheduled. However, instead of standing still, folks broke police barriers and took to the streets in an impromptu march that shut down main streets, surrounded the mall and flabbergasted tourists.

In Denver, over 75,000 began their march across the street from Escuela Tlatelolco, the school founded by the great Chicano activist Corky Gonzales.

The Latin@ working class shut down the agriculture and service industries across Washington state. Sixty-five thousand workers poured into downtown Seattle. Marchers carried flags of countries from Somalia to Honduras. In the agricultural town of Yakima, Wash., 15,000 marchers paraded. Thou sands more demonstrated in Wenatchee, which is apple country.

Hempstead, N.Y.
The country’s biggest beef processor was forced to give workers the day off in seven plants in Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Texas and Nebraska.

The South

Tens of thousands honored the boycott in Georgia. Not one worker showed up at the Vidalia onion farms in southern Georgia. Thousands, including whole families with small children and babies, rallied in Atlanta. A common theme of speeches was that immigrants are workers struggling for their children to have education, health care and opportunity. In Athens, Ga., some 2,000 grade-school and high-school students, young workers and a number of white supporters assembled near the University of Georgia campus. One activist said it “was the biggest protest Athens had ever seen.”

During the rally, the emcee, Pedro, discussed the origin of May Day and how immigrant workers struggled for the eight-hour day in Chicago. He said it was historic that immigrants are again taking to the streets for justice in the United States.

Some 10,000 people marched in uptown Charlotte, N.C., and over 800 students were absent from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. Student Amanda Medina said, “It made me feel proud of who I am and where I come from, and there are so many people out here to support us.” (

New Orleans

African-American high school student Nigel Hood said, “I just couldn’t help thinking back to my ancestors and predecessors who were in the civil-rights movement. It made me feel very special.” ( Protesters also marched though downtown Lumberton, N.C. They were joined by workers from Smithfield Foods Inc.’s plant in Tar Heel. Gene Bruskin, with the Food and Commercial Workers union, said, “We’re in the middle of absolutely nowhere, pig farms, and you’ve got 5,000 workers marching.” (

In Raleigh, N.C., some 3,000 people surrounded the State Capitol. (

The North and East

Thousands rallied in Washington, D.C. They demanded an end to government attacks on undocumented workers, and carried signs saying, “There are no borders in the workers’ struggle.”

San Diego
Photo: Manuel Mantillo
More than half of the 1,147 construction workers at Dulles International Airport boycotted work. (AP) Businesses from downtown D.C. to the affluent Georgetown shopping area closed because of absent workers.

Hundreds of residents, workers, students and professors rallied at the Uni versity at Buffalo, N.Y. They demanded an end to anti-immigrant racism and U.S.-sponsored apartheid. Police attacked and beat two students, one a Bolivian, while protesters shouted, “Let them go!” and “Shame on you!” The community continued the march despite the police presence.

Across Massachusetts, tens of thousands demonstrated in over 30 cities. In Boston, a delegation from Steel Workers Local 8751, the Boston school bus drivers’ union, followed a banner hoisted by mostly youths of color.

Service Employees union leaders led chants with Local 8571 members, including all of the local’s chief stewards, its newly elected Haitian President Frantz Mendes, and Vice President Steve Gillis, as well as rank-and-file members. The militant protesters filed past the Federal Building to the statehouse for a mostly anti-imperialist speak-out and to support a pro-immigrant news conference taking place inside, where Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee member Bishop Filipe Teixeira was speaking. They then marched on Boston Common for a mass rally.

San Francisco
Photo: JoHanna Greenspan-Johnston

Speaking from the Common stage, Cassandra Clark Mazariegos of the Young Revolutionaries, the youth contingent of the RPHRDC, said: “The young people are here to support our parents. They left their countries because of economic hardships due to the things this country did.”

Fight Imperialism Stand Together—FIST—organizer Ruth Vela summed up the historic May Day activities: “Today showed that the so-called ‘sleeping giant’ was not asleep, but rather busy working. If workers are not given the respect, dignity and justice demanded, then they will take it.”

Bill Bowers, John Catalinotto, Heather Cottin, David Dixon, Judy Greenspan, Larry Hales, Imani Henry, David Hoskins, Jim M., Dianne Mathiowetz, John Parker, Lou Paulsen, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Matthew L. Schwartz, Eric Struch, and Ruth Vela contributed to this report.
This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
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Asian Americans have large stake in immigrant rights, too
=May 4, 2006
By Tuyet Le

On May 1, 1975, the day after Saigon fell, my family and I had recently left Vietnam for the United States. So the immigrant rights rallies on May 1 had special meaning for me.

We were able to escape because an uncle, who was a Navy captain, negotiated a place for us on a fishing boat in exchange for his navigation skills. Originally, he was told he could bring only his immediate family on board. But he turned down that offer, risking his own chance to escape in order to get seven siblings and their families onto the boat -- 31 of us in all.

After several days at sea, a Taiwanese ship pulled alongside with orders to rescue any Chinese refugees. Of the hundreds of us on the boat, only two were offered spots -- a father and daughter. But they refused guaranteed safe passage unless we could all go with them. The Taiwanese relented, allowing all the women and children onto their ship, with the men following in the fishing boat. They led us to the Philippines. Two days later, we left for the United States.

I always hear how impressed people are with Vietnamese refugees, who came here with nothing and excelled beyond anyone's expectations. But what they leave out is that early Vietnamese families came during a time that U.S. refugee policy supported them.

We had case managers, food stamps and English tutors. My family was allowed to come here, and we were then able to support each other. That meant my grandmother could baby-sit, allowing both my parents to work even without being able to afford childcare. Though we tried to make it on our own as quickly as possible, knowing that we had a safety net gave us the courage to excel.

U.S. immigration policies back then were humane and accepting, rather than exclusionary and punitive. Back then, a Lutheran church gave us housing.

Now, the House passed a bill criminalizing social service agencies that aid undocumented immigrants -- even if it's just to teach them English.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month began on May 1, and immigrant rights are crucial for our communities. One million Asians living in the United States are undocumented. About 18 percent of Korean Americans are undocumented. There are undocumented immigrants in the Chinese community, in the South Asian community, in all of our communities.

Although many Asian Americans may not talk about living in the shadows, about looking to the future and seeing only uncertainty, about yearning for years to be with family, about hearing our cousins grow up or our parents grow old over long distance calls, we, too, share these stories.
That's why tens of thousands of us marched for our rights along with our immigrant friends and neighbors.

We all were marching for respect.

For first-class citizenship.

For racial justice.

Courage is not just persevering against odds for your own survival or interests. It's linking your fate with others -- risking your own safety in their time of need.

Courage is a brother saying, "Take my whole family to safety, or don't take me at all." It's a family saying, "We won't leave 200 Vietnamese refugees behind."

Courage is a society saying, "We will create policies that allow entire families to enjoy an entire American life."

Without that courage, I would not be here today. So on May 1, I marched.

Tuyet Le is executive director at the Asian American Institute. She can be reached at Email: .


Thousands march for immigrant rights in downtown S.C. = May 2, 2006
By Soraya Gutierrez, Sentinel Staff Writer

SANTA CRUZ — Isabel Garcia and her son were among the estimated 3,000 people who rallied in downtown Santa Cruz on Monday for what they said were basic values: human rights.

"I'm here for liberty and respect for all the people," said Garcia, who missed work to participate in the march for immigrant rights. She has four sons and said her family, who immigrated to Santa Cruz from Oaxaca, Mexico, has a long history of working in restaurants and in the fields.

Across the nation, people of all backgrounds were encouraged to support an economic boycott, walkouts and peaceful demonstrations to let the federal government see what it would be like to have a "Day Without Immigrants," which is what organizers called Monday's event. Congress is currently deliberating legislation that would tighten immigration policy.

Statewide, hundreds of thousands were reported to have taken to the streets.

In Santa Cruz, a crowd of several hundred at the Town Clock erupted in cheers at 1 p.m. as they were joined by hundreds more from a march that started at noon in Beach Flats. Shortly after, a third group of marchers that had gathered at UC Santa Cruz marched down Mission Street, and the crowd swelled to thousands of people of all ages and ethnicities.

Traffic had to be directed away from downtown as the march engulfed the streets.
No major incidents were reported by police.

With American flags outnumbering Mexican flags in the air, the marchers made their way to a rally at San Lorenzo Park, which appeared more like a massive reunion of family and friends than a protest. Mothers and fathers pushed their children in strollers, other families sat on the lawn enjoying the sun and listening to event organizers speak about justice and equality.

Claudia Ponce of Santa Cruz said she doesn't usually make it to rallies, but felt this was important enough for her to join. She took a day off from cleaning homes and showed up with her husband and four children: "We don't want to be treated like criminals. We want to stay here and work."

Maria Reyes of Santa Cruz said she is a stay-at-home mom, but she and 20 members of her family decided to march because when it comes to getting a point across, there's strength in numbers, she said. "We will accomplish something," she said in Spanish. "The government will hear us."

For UC Santa Cruz student Sarah Duval, Monday's protest was her first. Her classes had been canceled, and she decided to skip her on-campus job to join the march. She said she was also supporting the economic boycott by not buying anything all day. Undocumented workers, she said, should not have fewer rights than she does, "especially because they're members of the community just like anyone else."

In Watsonville, where protests raged last month when the immigration debate heated up, thousands marched past shuttered businesses in the downtown and across the Pajaro River into Pajaro shortly after noon.

Protests there were reportedly peaceful, too.

Back in Santa Cruz, Pat Kittle, a self-described tree-hugger, was the lone counter-protester among the masses. He wasn't discouraged from proudly waving his "redwoods or open borders" sign among the "We are all immigrants" signs.

If billions of people move here to fulfill the American dream, the redwoods would disappear, he said.

People scolded him for placing trees before people, but he did not back off from his stance against open borders, as the rest of the marchers around him chanted for "Un mundo sin fronteras" or "A world without borders."

Staff writer Donna Jones contributed to this report.
Contact Soraya Gutierrezat


UCSC Marches for Immigrant Rights: By Katherine Markowicz

Hundreds of UC Santa Cruz students, faculty, employees, and community members of varying race and legal status demonstrated at the base of campus in solidarity with the Great American Boycott for immigrant rights.

Elana Valenzuela, a third year student, who grew up in Tijuana, Mexico emphasized that the work of immigrants often goes unrecognized in the U.S. “I’ve seen a lot of harassment of people coming across the border... immigrants are invisible in this country,” she said. “I hope there is an economic impact so that the majority of people can recognize the contribution they make to society”

As early as 6 a.m., demonstrators began to form a symbolic human border between Bay Street and the east entrance of campus, while others staged another protest at the west entrance.

The West Gate marchers were greeted with cheers as they made there way toward the crowd of supporters at the Main Entrance. Chanting in unison, the two groups became one and listened as campus employees, students and SAW members delivered their heartfelt speeches.

Community studies professor Paul Ortiz was among the speakers. Addressing the largely Latino crowd, Ortiz said, “It’s important that we see what we’re doing today as part of these larger struggles that are happening even as we speak— in Miami, in Los Angeles, in Chicago. Let’s not forget this is only the beginning of our movement.”

Various student groups also banded together in support of the boycott. Student representatives from Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), Students Against War (SAW), and Student Workers Coalition (SWC) all participated in the protest.

Jaime Rodriguez, a third year student and active member of MEChA and SWC said, “We want the people to know everywhere that we are not happy with these neo-liberal polices . . . we’re here to make people more aware to participate in the boycott, to raise and eyebrow.”

Brothers from the Sigma Phi Zeta fraternity also participated in the demonstration. “We are here to let everyone know that manifest destiny is dead. Now that minorities have educated themselves, the government is scared,” said Andrew Castillo, Sigma Phi Zeta member and Merrill College.

As the demonstration increased in size, campus security was on the alert, making their presence known with six officers and two patrol cars. The marchers were reminded continually, “everyone walk with the group” and “you don’t walk you get a ticket.”

SCJ and SAW member Aaron Dankman served as police liason for the marchers.

“We’re in constant contact with the cops and administration. We talk every ten minutes or so,” Dankman said.

While the police presence was expected, marchers were surprised when sophomore Kyle Barrowman showed up in counter-protest.

“I disagree with the nature of the protest. I am pro-immigration, yet there are certain economic consequences and tax burdens that it poses,” Barrowman said.

Standing in close proximity to Barrowman’s counter-protest, a member of the Brown Berets who identified himself as “DJ Squirt” said, “Justice and freedom were never won without a struggle.”

As the clock struck noon, the crowd made its way down Bay Street to the clock tower, to meet with another march that began in the Beach Flats. The crowd surged to about 3,000 as it met downtown, and proceeded to San Lorenzo Park.

At the park, Segundo Chavarry, local resident and immigrant from Peru, said “I’m glad for the support from UCSC, I think it’s great we can stand together and create a movement.”

Staff writers Alicia Bell and Alanna Belluzzi contributed to this report.

The views and opinions expressed in this web site are those of the authors and not necessarily of UCSC.
CHP Editor: Ian Stewart


Immigration rallies prod lawmakers
Despite major split, GOP and Democrats appear flexible.
By Susan Ferriss and Michael Doyle -- Bee Staff Writers
Published 2:15 am PDT Wednesday, May 3, 2006

President Bush and Senate leaders on Tuesday redoubled efforts on immigration reform, one day after a nationwide boycott organized by Latino civic and labor activists riveted political attention to the cause.

Although major differences remain, Republicans and Democrats began showing signs of give-and-take. Bush convened a special afternoon meeting with GOP leaders to discuss the next steps in reworking the nation's immigration policy, while Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid softened a position that had stymied lawmakers several weeks ago.

"Few other issues are as important, and no other issue is as ripe for Senate debate," Reid said Tuesday morning. "Surely we can pass a good comprehensive immigration bill before the Memorial Day recess."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, too, has indicated the Senate can resume immigration debate before the end of the month.

The nationwide boycott did not spur this action, but it did help keep lawmakers focused.

"I think to the extent it keeps them on their toes, it's a good thing," said Angelo Amador, director of immigration policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "It certainly helps so long as they continue being peaceful."

Activists' unifying goal is to persuade the Senate to approve legalization for undocumented workers and reject a House bill that would convert 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants into felons.

The House proposal would allow prosecution of anyone who assists illegal immigrants in their attempts to remain in the United States. The House spurned U.S. business groups' and some labor unions' call to legalize workers and expand the number of work-related visas.

Monday's "A Day without Immigrants" boycott didn't shut down the economy, but it generated much publicized employer sympathy and made significant dents in some key industries, like California agriculture and the U.S. meatpacking industry.

With a turnout of more than 1 million in dozens of cities across the country, organizers believe they achieved new momentum.

The simultaneous protests were some of the biggest the country has seen over any controversy in years. They were fueled by the passion of illegal immigrants who have long pined, with the support of many U.S. employer groups, for some sort of legalization. While Los Angeles activists originally proposed the May 1 date for the boycott and spread word via the Internet and Spanish-language media, activists in each city put their own stamp on rallies.

As the Senate prepares to get back to immigration debate, organizers are considering what additional mobilizations they can plan to continue to pressure lawmakers.

Armando Navarro, coordinator of the National Alliance for Human Rights, a Southern California umbrella organization for Latino activist groups, told the Associated Press there are plans for another major march, but with all efforts concentrated on Washington, D.C.

He said that could come as soon as late this month, but certainly before July.

Navarro said many local rally organizers have started incorporating voter registration and citizenship drives into their work.

"We need to take this critical mass and organize it. Marching is not enough," Navarro said. "Today we march with our feet, tomorrow we vote with our feet."

Monday's marches "were an unmitigated success," said Nativo Lopez of the Mexican American Political Association in Southern California, part of a coalition of civil rights and labor union organizers who issued the original call for a May 1 boycott.

More than 400,000 illegal immigrants, legal residents and U.S. citizens - most of them Latino - flooded the streets of Los Angeles at two different protests Monday. Similar scenes were repeated across the United States.

"There's no one leader in any one place or community, let alone the whole nation. People came because we helped provide the forum for them to come," said Al Rojas, a labor activist in Sacramento who organized farm workers for many years.

Rojas helped obtain police permits to close streets so protesters could march Monday in what turned out to be the largest demonstration at the state Capitol in recent memory. He said local units of the Service Employees International Union printed leaflets and bilingual placards declaring: "We Are All Workers" and "Today We March - Tomorrow We Vote."

Rojas said many immigrant activists went through "a school of learning" in recent years when they mobilized to try to reverse requirements that block undocumented workers from obtaining California driver's licences.

Pix at Websource:
Al Rojas, a labor activist in Sacramento who organized farm workers for many years, helped obtain police permits to close streets so protesters could march Monday in a large demonstration at the state Capitol.
Sacramento Bee file, 2004/Manny Crisostomo

Paramo Hernandez, another immigrant rights activist in Sacramento, said: "It is historically very hard to get Mexican immigrants to come out to march for something. They have come to the United States to work. But with this proposed law, the people feel cornered."

Before debate on reform was derailed two weeks ago, the Senate was considering a proposal that would put many illegal immigrants here on a path to legalization and eventual citizenship if they prove knowledge of English, pay back taxes and have good records.

Immigrants here less than two years by the time the bill passes would not be eligible.

The debate collapsed after Reid and his fellow Democrats used the Senate's parliamentary rules to insist that only three amendments be considered for the immigration bill. At the time, the Democrats said they were trying to prevent GOP delaying tactics.

On Tuesday, Reid said Democrats were willing to let each party propose 10 amendments. That could add up to 40 separate votes, because of how amendments can in turn be amended.

However, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who has been among the most vocal opponents of the "comprehensive" approach favored by many Democrats and some key Republicans, said Tuesday the bill pending before the Senate "is not fixable."

"I don't think it's likely that we will be able to create a good bill by Memorial Day," he said. "We'd do better to slow down."

Adela de la Torre, a University of California, Davis, Chicano politics expert, said she thinks hardened foes of some sort of legalization could end up "on the margins" in Washington.

More of the public is starting to regard the House's felony provisions as "a nonstarter" for reform, she said.

She said Monday's protests appear to show that more unity is developing among immigrant activists of various backgrounds, labor union representatives and national black leaders, who marched in Chicago with illegal immigrants and their supporters.

"The equity issue is also huge," she said when asked if the role of U.S. businesses in attracting illegal immigrant workers could bolster the argument that the most fair and practical solution is to legalize many illegal immigrants with jobs and roots in communities.

"If you're going to talk about illegal status," de la Torre said, "you have to talk about the global issues of how we've chosen to develop our economies."
About the writers:
The Bee's Susan Ferriss can be reached at (916) 321-1267 or Ferriss reported from Sacramento; Michael Doyle reported from Washington, D.C. Margaret Talev, of The Bee's Washington bureau, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


Bronx Residents Rally in Support of Immigrant Rights: By NORA BYRNES
May 3 - 17, 2006

Hundreds of residents, politicians and clergy members took to Fordham Road on May 1 as part of a national action in support of immigrant rights. Protesters of all ages and nations formed a human chain that snaked over several avenues along Fordham.

Congressman Jose Serrano, who attended the event, argued that America is conflicted about its relationship to immigrants. “[We] can see the contradiction in having the Statue of Liberty that invites people in while the nation has borders that keeps people out,” he said, speaking before a crowd strewn with flags of all stripes.

The protesters, many who were Latino, later marched to Union Square in Manhattan. They chanted “Yes, we can,” in English and Spanish while passing cars honking in support.

Nelly Elle, a vocational counselor and mother of two, was part of the crowd. “Immigrants have been working here and we deserve rights,” said Elle, who came from Columbia 25 years ago.

Maria Turzios, 40, argued that immigrants are an integral part of the economy and deserve the same civil liberties and benefits. “We are not criminals,” said Turzios, a drug and alcohol counselor from El Salvador. “We are the ones that work in the factories and stores.”

Turzios was one of the many who took time off from work, or closed their businesses, to attend the protest. She hoped the event would call attention to immigrants’ important contributions to the United States. “We came to a free county and we came to work,” said Turzios, who has lived in the U.S. since 1979.


Dan Walters: Like it or not, immigrants are driving state's population boom
By Dan Walters -- Bee Columnist
Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, May 2, 2006

By pure happenstance, on the day that hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets of California to demand rights for immigrants - however those rights may be defined - the state issued a new report on population growth that demonstrated anew that immigration accounts for virtually all of the state's human expansion.

The Department of Finance's demographers calculated that as of Jan. 1, the state's population had reached 37.2 million, up 444,000 over the previous year and continuing California on a track to approach 40 million by 2010 - and 50 million by the late 2020s.

That growth, a more than 50 percent expansion since 1980, lies at the root of virtually all of California's pressing public policy issues, including traffic congestion, land use and water conflicts, air pollution, public school performance, access to health care, college crowding and the state's chronic budget deficits. And the state's politicians have been extraordinarily lax both in acknowledging that fact and in confronting the issues that it generates - in fact, most of the time acting as if the demographic facts didn't exist.

Then-Gov. Jerry Brown proclaimed an "era of limits" in the mid-1970s and consciously implemented policies based on the assumption that the state's post-World II growth period was over. But, in fact, it was merely a very brief lull before two new powerful forces - foreign immigration and a new baby boom among immigrants - began pushing the state's population sharply upward again in the late 1970s.

Since then, the patterns of California's population growth have become very predictable: several hundred thousand foreign immigrants each year - legal and illegal - plus more than a half-million babies and minus the 200,000-plus Californians who die.

Except for a strong exodus from California during the collapse of the aerospace industry in the early 1990s, state-to-state migration has been a negligible factor in population growth.

When Department of Finance numbers are merged with Census Bureau numbers and birth and death data collected by the state Department of Health Services are added to the mix, showing that half of all births are to immigrant mothers, the inescapable conclusion is that foreign immigration and births to immigrant mothers together comprise all of the state's net population growth. Or, to put it another way, without foreign immigration, California would have virtually zero population growth.

A good thing or a bad thing? Without population growth, many pressing political issues and conflicts would fade or even disappear, not only those of infrastructure but the cultural value conflicts that having such a large, growing and highly diverse population inevitably generate. But it would also freeze the growth of the labor force - and perhaps result in huge shortages of labor because the state's non-immigrant population is aging rapidly and, within a few years, immense numbers of those born in the postwar baby boom will be retiring. Losing the labor of young immigrants, legal or illegal, could put the state's service-and trade-centered economy into a tailspin.

Whether zero population growth would be good for California is an interesting philosophical debate - but it's not going to happen. The die is cast. Immigration will continue. The only question, really, is whether the chaotic status quo, which has given the state an underground population of 3 million illegal immigrants, will also continue or whether the federal government will bring some order to immigration policy with a guest worker program and a path to legalization or citizenship for those already here.

If recent patterns continue, California may see an even stronger surge of population growth in the near future because its birth rate, which had declined somewhat in the 1990s, is picking up again. From a high of 612,000 births in 1990, baby production dropped as low as 518,000 in 1999. It has been moving upward again to an estimated 553,000 this year and, state demographers say, heading back to 600,000 by 2014. That means, among other things, that the leveling-off of school enrollment will also end, and classrooms will be hit with a new wave of youngsters. It also means that Latinos will become the state's largest population bloc in about 10 years.

Like it or not, that's the future. Our politicians had better start paying attention.
About the writer:
Reach Dan Walters at (916) 321-1195 or .
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Over 1.5 Million March for Immigrant Rights in One of Largest Days of Protest in U.S. History
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

Over 1.5 million people took part in May Day demonstrations to support immigrant rights in one of the largest days of protest in the country's history. Across the nation immigrants refused to go to work or school in what was dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants." Major demonstrations were held in dozens of cities across the country. We hear some of the voices that spoke at rallies on the historic day. [includes rush transcript]

In what is being called the largest day of protest in U.S. history, over 1.5 million people stayed away from work and school Monday to take part in nationwide marches in support of immigrant rights. In Chicago, organizers claimed a turnout of 700,000 people. In Los Angeles, at least 500,000. Here in New York, over 100,000 marched down Broadway. At least 75,000 people turned out in Denver, with thousands more in cities including San Jose, Phoenix, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Las Vegas and nearly 50 others.

Businesses across the country were closed as workers walked off the job for an economic boycott dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants." Meat producing companies, including Tyson foods, Cargill and Perdue Farms closed down more than two dozen plants employing over 20,00 people. In Phoenix, protesters formed a human chain to block off Wal-Mart and Home Depot stores. Traffic was down 90 percent at the main ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the country's largest. The boycott also attracted large student involvement. In Los Angeles, over 72,000 middle and high school students -- about one in every four students - were absent from school.

We go now to some of the voices from this historic day:

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D - Illinois)
Gloria Romero, California Senate Majority Leader (D)
Bill Rosendahl, Los Angeles City Council member
Gerardo Lorenz, of radio station KTNQ.

Here in New York, we caught up with demonstrators just steps from our firehouse studio in Chinatown.

Demonstrators in Manhattan, NY.

JUAN GONZALEZ: We go now to some of the voices from this historic day. We begin in Chicago, where Democratic Congressmember Luis Gutierrez addressed the day's largest rally.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: If we were in Boston and it were 1850, 1860, we would be reading in the newspaper about the dirty, the uneducated people who were coming to this country, coming to this country and destroying America, and they would be referring to Irish immigrants. If it were the turn of the century and it were 1910 and we were in New York City and we picked up the New York Times, we'd read "Only by the rule of law could we hope to control these people," and they would be referring to Italian immigrants. You know what? They were wrong in Boston about the Irish. They were wrong in New York about the Italians. And the Congress and Sensenbrenner was wrong about immigrants across this country today.

What we want -- what we want is a legalization process that allows all of those that work hard, are of good moral character, wishing to raise their families through sweat and toil to make America a better country, a road, a pathway to their legalization, so that they can come out of the shadows of darkness, of discrimination, of bigotry, of exploitation, and join us fully. I say to the Congress of the United States: You have two options. Number one, show the political will. Put the resources forward to deport 12 million people, and if you don't have that, then do the right thing and legalize 12 million people.

JUAN GONZALEZ: That was Democratic Congressmember Luis Gutierrez speaking in Chicago. We move to Los Angeles where California Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero talked about a bill passed by the state legislature in support of the boycott.

GLORIA ROMERO: It is my honor to march with the people today, constituents that I represent here in Los Angeles. It is a magnificent day in history, and I’m very proud to present to you, the organizers and the people, a copy of the resolution that was passed by the California State Senate recognizing today as the great American boycott. And we can look back and see that using a boycott is part of the American tradition, from the Boston Tea Party to Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez. All we want is fair immigration reform and a recognition of the role of immigrants in this country. Si, se puede!

JUAN GONZALEZ: That was California Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero in Los Angeles. Also speaking to the Los Angeles crowd was Bill Rosendahl, a member of the Los Angeles City Council.

BILL ROSENDAHL: This very moment is a defining moment for the United States of America. This is truly a civil rights issue in the 21st century. What the Republican House of Representatives did in calling undocumented immigrants a felon is a disgrace. If there is a crime, it is the crime of leaving 11 million people in the shadows in this great country. We are all Americans! And I say to the Republican-controlled Congress: We want a path to citizenship for all of us. And if you don't see leadership coming from the Republican White House and the Senate and the House of Representatives, throw them out this November. And the last point, it is a crime not to give undocumented immigrants their driver's license. They must be able to have that so we all can be Americans together.

AMY GOODMAN: Los Angeles City Council member Bill Rosendahl. And finally, Gerardo Lorenz of radio station KTNQ.

GERARDO LORENZ: I feel very proud of you. I feel proud to live in this nation, and that is why in California we're sending the loudest message, the clearest message, to the Congress of the United States: Here we are. We are asking for legalization. We won't accept anything less.

We need to recognize at all times the work of the women, the work of the men. We have spent decades being stepped on. We need to tell that to the far right of this nation, that we won't take a step backwards. We need to tell the people of Sensenbrenner that you can't use our lives to negotiate federal budgets. This is our presence. When you return to your homes, tell your neighbors that today our boycott was successful, was successful, was successful!

AMY GOODMAN: Gerardo Lorenz of radio station KTNQ in Los Angeles. Here in New York, we caught up with immigrants, formed a human chain just blocks from our Firehouse studio here in Chinatown.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, standing here on Canal Street, where hundreds of people have come to form a human chain. Many of them are holding up signs that say "We Are America." Some are holding signs that say “12:16” for December 16, the day the House passed a bill that would criminalize immigrants who don't have legal documents and those that help them. We spoke with some of them.

DEMONSTRATORS: We are America! We are America!

GREG DURANDUS: My name is Greg Durandus. I’m from Haiti, and I’m here to support the many Haitian immigrants that live in the U.S. and especially in New York. And I’m here to tell the lawmakers how angry I am, because they don't show respect to the immigrants, and this is an immigrant country.

MARGARET CHAN: My name is Margaret Chan. I’m from Hong Kong. I came over from Hong Kong with my family when I was seven years old, so I am an immigrant. I am here to support all immigrants, and I’m here to show the people in Washington that it's a stupid idea to make it a felony for people who are undocumented here. I’m an immigration attorney. Does that mean I will be charged with a felony for helping my clients? You know, will doctors have to file, like, their Hippocratic Oath and not help an undocumented person? Is this not the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard of?

ANA: My name is Ana, and I’m here to support the immigrants. I’m an immigrant myself, originally from El Salvador in Central America.

JESSIE: I’m Jessie, and I was born in Puerto Rico, family is Puerto Rican.

AMY GOODMAN: And why are you here today?

JESSIE: I’m here in support of all immigrants and just for a fair chance in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, you're American. Why do you choose this day of immigrants to stand up?

JESSIE: Because, like many other people, I came to this country, despite the fact we're not considered -- we're part of the U.S., Puerto Rico, but I still think we need to support everyone.

BON YUEN: I’m from China. My name is Bon Yuen.

AMY GOODMAN: And what is your message today with your sign, “We Are America”?

BON YUEN: We are American, yes. We are American, yeah. I think so, yes.

TOMIYA: My name is Tomiya. I was born in New York, and I’m Japanese American. My family has been here for over a hundred years, and I’m here to support immigrants and immigrant rights.

AMY GOODMAN: Have you faced anti-immigrant bias?

TOMIYA: I think that particularly for Asians and people of color, you know, they don't look like they're American, and even though my family has been here for generations, are still treated like foreigners. I certainly understand the racism and discrimination that recent immigrants face, and I’m particularly concerned with the PATRIOT Act and how that's affecting Arab communities, because I am the descendant of Japanese Americans who were interned. I certainly understand how dangerous the situation is, how it affects all Americans here today.

AMY GOODMAN: People forming a human chain in Chinatown in New York on a day without immigrants.


Immigrant-rights protest at Capitol is an artful demonstration
By Chris Macias -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, May 2, 2006
The poster of Sitting Bull was silkscreened in four colors: red, white, blue - and brown. Homemade T-shirts cast images of picket lines and such slogans as "Unidos: Hasta la Victoria Siempre" ("United: Until victory, always").
From the marchers lining up at Southside Park to the masses who crammed the Capitol grounds, the art of protest was on display at Monday's "A Day Without Immigrants" protest.

A Latino protest without art is like, well, "A Day Without a Mexican" - as the 2004 movie described it. Artists have always played a key role in Latino social movements and rallies, creating posters that are suitable for framing but meant to deliver a message.

Jose Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican artist, popularized the use of printmaking as a protest tool in the late 19th century. The tradition has continued throughout the Chicano movement to Monday's immigration marches.

"Cesar Chavez said it best, that without artists in the movement, there is no movement," Juanishi Orosco, a muralist and member of the Royal Chicano Air Force art collective, said near the Capitol steps with a sketchbook in hand. "Artists give vision to the slogans, and these are the lingering images that will be there tomorrow."

So Xico Gonzalez and a four-person crew prepared for Monday's protest by silk-screening 700 posters. One image was of the American Indian chief Sitting Bull with the message, "If we must die, we die defending our rights: No to HR 4437." (HR 4437 is the proposed Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Act.)

Another poster mixed the images of Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara and Frida Kahlo, the great Mexican painter, with the slogan "Que Viva Mujer" ("Long Live the Woman").

The posters were given away at Southside Park, and all were snapped up before marchers headed to the Capitol rally at noon.

"We've been printing a lot of posters for the masses," said Gonzalez, who was silk-screening through Sunday night.

"That's what it's about: giving back to the Chicano community."

Gonzalez's creations could be seen Monday throughout Capitol Park, shading heads from the midday sun and being saved as souvenirs.

"I'm going to put it on my wall," said Sabrina Wilson, a 16-year-old student from Sacramento, about the Kahlo/Che poster that was given to her at Southside Park. "I recognize (Kahlo) as a person who made a difference and changed a lot of (ideas about) immigration back then."

Other posters were more homegrown, such as the simple piece of cardboard that said, "Please don't split up my family." Another marcher carried a homemade sign that read, "Can't believe I live in a country that wants to get rid of Salma Hayek."

Silkscreened T-shirts were like miniature billboards that were found throughout the day. About a half-dozen kinds were produced just for Monday's protest, including the one that read "Unidos: Hasta la Victoria Siempre." More than 120 of those were ordered by Ernesto Jimenez, the local restaurateur behind Ernesto's and Zócalo, and given to his employees at the march.

Another T-shirt simply said "Unidos" ("United") and showed the United States and Mexican flags flying side by side. Other T-shirts worn by protesters took a more humorous tone, including one that read "Danger: Educated Chicana" and another that showed Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary, as if he were Tony Montana from "Scarface."

Silk-screened T-shirts of the late farm-labor Chavez also were available at Southside Park. They were given out for free, though some marchers donated as much as $10 for their shirts, said Rudy Cuellar, a local artist who silk-screened the shirts.

"Silk-screening is a medium by which artists can express themselves, and it's not expensive," said Cuellar. "We used to print out here all day during Cinco de Mayos at Southside Park."

It's also in keeping with tradition.

"It's great to see local artists take on the responsibility of making posters that carry messages," said Dominick Porras, a local photographer who was taking pictures and filming the Capitol rally. "(Protest art) is definitely still being carried on through generation after generation, and I think it will continue."

About the writer: The Bee's Chris Macias can be reached at (916) 321-1253 or
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