Immigration activists confirmed Thursday that marches are planned for several cities on May Day to press the Obama Administration and Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrant advocates want to put pressure on the president to follow through on campaign promises to reform the nation’s immigration system. They also want a stop to enforcement raids and deportations.
“On May 1, we’ll go out on the streets to tell Barack Obama’s government and the Congress that we need an immigration reform with a path to legalization for millions of the undocumented,” Juan José Gutiérrez, director of Movimiento Latino USA, told Univision Interactive Multimedia (UIM) in Los Angeles.
Activists in L.A., Gutierrez added, will start demonstrating this Saturday, April 4, on the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. “We will tell (the president) that the date is coming, the countdown to the 100 days when he promised to send an immigration reform proposal to Congress,” he said.
Gutiérrez said Obama had promised L.A. activists to send a bill to Congress before his first 100 days in office during a meeting in December 2007.
In Chicago, demonstrators will march through downtown as in previous years.
“They’ve done much to resolve the problems of the banks, the auto industry and all the other corporations, but they haven’t figured out how to resolve the problems of the people,” march organizer Jorge Mujica said about Congress during a news conference.
[The Chicago Tribune]
In New York, organizers said at a recent press conference that they expect “concrete changes to America’s deportation and guest worker policies,” as well as an end to raids, the NY1 news channel reported.
“President Obama has met with many immigrant rights organizations and he indicates that he wants very much to stop the raids, so we’re gonna make sure he gets the message from New York City,” said May Day Rally Coordinator Teresa Gutierrez.
As we’ve reported in recent weeks, the Obama Administration has shown signs that it may modify various immigration policies which have been criticized by immigrant advocates, like work-site raids, immigrant detention and immigration enforcement by local authorities. Pres. Obama himself said action on a comprehensive immigration bill may come soon.
But pro-immigrant activists seem to be getting antsy, perhaps due to mixed signals coming from the White House. This week, Vice President Joseph Biden said the economic crisis made this a bad time to think about passing immigration reform.
Actions like ICE’s release of two dozen undocumented immigrants detained during a raid at a Washington State engine plant are “a good start,” Carlos Fernández, a spokesman for the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, told La Opinión. But he added advocates are expecting further, more concrete measures.
“They have not canceled the raids,” he said. “There is still no concrete idea of whether they will plan others.”
Obama must stop the raids and suspend deportations during this process (of debating immigration reform.) He has to understand that these measures hurt a great number of people.