Thousands March At May Day Events Across The US
Reporting from Los Angeles
Immigrants, whites, blacks, Asians, and everything in between flooded downtown Los Angeles during the annual May Day march to protest the tough anti-immigrant law in Arizona and demand comprehensive immigration reform.
May Day organizers estimated that more than 250,000 attended the march in Los Angeles, even though the cops say it was about 95,000 people. Some 80 rallies took place across the United States including in Dallas, Tucson, Phoenix, San Francisco, New York, San Jose, Fresno, and Houston.
The anti-immigrant law that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed has sparked anger as well as a new wave of activism within the Latino community. Several people were arrested in front of the White House during a civil disobedience action, including U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez — one of the co-sponsors of a proposed immigration reform bill.
Watch a video of the arrests in front of the White House
Bad PR For Arizona
The bad PR that Arizona is getting over their immigration law, prompted legislators there to amend sections of the law yesterday, which doesn’t go into effect until the summer. One of the amends included, having police officers only ask for identification papers to those who are detained, stopped, and arrested. Before the amendment, the police had unlimited authority to ask for papers to anyone they suspected was undocumented, thus opening the door to racial profiling.
A boycott to Arizona has been called by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has been very outspoken on the issue. Villaraigosa believes that the law in the state is “anti-American.” The mayor was also one of the numerous speakers at Saturday’s rally, narrating how his grandparents came to the US some 100 years ago.
Marchers also demanded that President Barack Obama pushes to get immigration reform passed as soon as possible. Some of them carried signs saying, “No legalization, no re-election.” They also called for a stop on ICE raids.
Numerous other events will take place in the following weeks in order to keep up the momentum, according to immigrant rights advocates.