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Legalization now! No raids, deportations!
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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 73/No. 15      April 20, 2009


Legalize all immigrants now! All out for May Day!
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(lead article)
Legalization now!
No raids, deportations!
L.A. workers build May Day actions

Militant/Naomi Craine

Some 1,200 people march through downtown Los Angeles April 4 to build upcoming May Day actions there to demand legalization for undocumented immigrants.

LOS ANGELES—Recent and upcoming meetings, conferences, and protests here are building toward May 1 actions for immigrant rights. About 1,200 people marched through downtown to the convention center for a rally titled, “Reforma migratoria ahora!!! in commemoration of the Grand March of March 25, 2006.”

The action was organized by the Coalition for Full Rights for Immigrant Workers. Rally slogans demanded “Immigration reform,” “Stop the raids,” and “Yes to family unification,” a reference to the separation of families when one or both parents are deported and separated from their children in the United States. Organizers of the march and rally made its main theme an appeal to President Barack Obama to promote the reform of immigration laws during the first 100 days of his administration.

“He has 16 days left to carry out this promise that he made,” said Juan José Gutiérrez, one of the leaders of the coalition.

Laura Ortega, 29, a worker employed in the downtown Los Angeles garment district, left work early to participate in the march. About coming out to marches and protests, Ortega said, “It is very important more than ever for Hispanic people because this is the future of this country; it’s the future for those who come behind us.”

Chants included, “Sí se puede” (Yes we can!), “Aquí estamos y no nos vamos” (We are here and we’re not leaving!), and “Justice, now.”

Hundreds, including many high school students, also marched April 4 through downtown commemorating the birthday of Cesar Chavez.

The Independent Port Drivers Association held a press conference April 3 to denounce the conditions truckers are facing. It also promoted participation in the May 1 demonstrations. A majority of the 80 people in attendance were truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The drivers were joined by activists in the March 25 Coalition and other organizations that are building actions for May 1.

The port truck drivers, most of whom are immigrants, “face racism, discrimination, and exploitation,” said Walter Flores. He and other drivers described harassment by the highway patrol, rising costs for everything from insurance to diesel, and low pay.

“We have to wait two, three, four hours without pay,” said Rosalinda Hernandez. “Too many drivers just keep their heads down. We need to protest.”

“On April 14 many of us will be gone because we don’t have papers,” said another driver, referring to the date that new federal “security” badges will be required for drivers to enter the port. “That’s why May 1 is important.”

On March 28, about 350 people participated in a march organized by the Southern California Immigration Coalition. Slogans included “Stop the raids,” “Total legalization now,” and “No to the Bracero program.” The coalition is organizing a conference April 11 with the same slogans.
Related articles:
Illinois students protest Border Patrol
Farm workers march for immigrant rights
Chicago student fights deportation to Mexico
All out for May Day actions

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