May Day Rallies Focus on Immigration Issues

From the Washington Independent comes this assessment of the national rallies that have become an annual event on May Day. (The Chicago May Day rally and march is listed at the bottom of this page.)

Organizers Prepare for May 1 Immigration Rallies

Poster for the 2009 immigrants rights May Day march

By Julissa Treviño 4/16/10 12:18 PM

Several pro-immigrant grassroots organizations today announced plans for major demonstrations across the country on May 1 that will focus on immigrant workers’ rights and comprehensive immigration reform. Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Milwaukee are among the cities that expect large rallies.

May 1 has long been a day for immigration protests, starting in Los Angeles more than 10 years ago, according to Maria Elena Durazo of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Organizations participating in the rallies, including Service Employees International Union (the largest union for immigrant workers), Mexican-American Coalition for Immigration Reform and Center for Community Change, expect this year’s demonstrations to bring together thousands of protesters like in previous years, especially when the stakes are so high.

During a conference call this morning, organizers pointed out that Arizona’s Senate bill 1070, recent immigration raids in Phoenix and Tucson and the 287 (g) program are just some examples of what’s heating up the immigration debate.

From a Center for Community Change press release today:

The grassroots organizations are escalating because President Obama has yet to deliver on his promise to move immigration reform, the Senate has yet to deliver on its promise to produce a bill, and DHS has yet to deliver on its promise to focus on arresting bad actors instead of terrorizing ordinary immigrants. The time for making promises has run out.  The time for concrete action has arrived.  We demand action from the President, Congress and DHS by May 1:

  • Sens. Schumer and Graham must introduce a bill
  • Congress and the President must pass comprehensive immigration in 2010
  • The President must end rogue enforcement at ICE and enact policies that keep families united


Meanwhile Fox News projects a large Chicago demonstration, especially given the furor over Arizona’s draconian new laws:

Furor Over Arizona Immigration Law Grows; Chicago Activists Plan Protest

Updated: Monday, 26 Apr 2010, 9:43 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 26 Apr 2010, 7:33 PM CDT

Associated Press

The furor over Arizona’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants grew Monday as opponents used refried beans to smear swastikas on the state Capitol, civil rights leaders demanded a boycott of the state, and the Obama administration weighed a possible legal challenge.

In Chicago on May 1, thousands of people are expected to gather at Union Park to protest the law.

Nationally, activists are also planning a legal challenge, hoping to block the law from taking effect by arguing that it encroaches on the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration and violates people’s constitutional rights by giving police too much power.

The measure — set to take effect in late July or early August — would make it a crime under state law to be in the U.S. illegally. It directs state and local police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal.

“If you look or sound foreign, you are going to be subjected to never-ending requests for police to confirm your identity and to confirm your citizenship,” said Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which is exploring legal action.


A number of organizations including Jobs With Justice, ICIRR, Road to Detroit-Chicago are organizing for a march from Union Park into the loop on May Day.  Here is the information from the Jobs With Justice site:

Join Chicago Jobs with Justice and the Labor Committee on Immigrant Worker Rights for a day of action on May 1st!


1:00 P.M. • Union Park
1501 W. Randolph


Call (312) 738-6161 to find out more or send an email to!


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