Washington, D.C. — Tens of thousands of workers, primarily from Central America, marched for immigrant rights in front of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on April 10.
The event was organized by many labor unions, and immigrant rights and community groups. Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, gave the keynote talk. Local events were held in several states as well, including New York, California, Wisconsin and Texas.
The demonstrations were called in response to the current deliberations taking place in Washington on passing a so-called “immigration reform” bill. This has recently heated up as a result of bipartisan unity among Congress members from both capitalist parties.
Most of the discussion on the bill has taken place behind closed doors. Expectations were that it would be introduced in the Senate on April 16. A congressperson stated the belief that the so-called “immigration reform” bill would be accomplished before Congress goes on summer recess.
Since 2006, immigrant workers, especially the undocumented, have marched, demonstrated and rallied in countless ways. What was behind the April 10 mobilizations — no matter what any placard said or what flag was carried — was the fight for the right to work in this country legally and without repression or exploitation.
Legalization is the issue that has been on the table for the immigrant rights movement for the past seven years. From all appearances, that is not what Congress is about to serve on that table. What appears to be around the corner is the codification of more repression and hardship for the undocumented and for all immigrants.
Nonetheless, the movement has a few months to heat up the struggle for the rights that immigrants not only deserve, but have earned over and over again. May Day 2013 should explicitly call for legalization for the undocumented and jobs and social services, not cutbacks, for all.