By Don Tagala, ABS CBN North America Bureau
April 29, 2013
Woodside, NY – In preparation for the May 1st Labor Day marches happening nationwide and around the world, a few dozen immigrant rights advocates took to the streets in Queens, New York.
Protesters demanded President Obama to legalize all undocumented workers by having congress pass a comprehensive immigration reform law now.
“This is to pressure our government to listen to the real demands of migrant workers in the US,” said Bayan USA’s Gary Labao
May Day is also known as International Worker’s Day – a commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago where dozens of demonstrators were killed after police tried to disperse workers during a general strike for the eight-hour work day.
Organizers say, the annual Queens March For Workers’ And Immigrants’ Rights held in these ethnically diverse neighborhoods highlights the migrant workers’ struggle for survival, especially those who are undocumented.
“Our plea is for a humane immigration law and also a humane increase in minimum wage,” said Rusty Fabunan of the Philippine Forum and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.
Marchers said they are not satisfied with the draft of the immigration overhaul, citing that legalization is just one part of the bill and that other issues like human trafficking and unfair labor practices that victimize immigrants should be addressed in the new law as well.
“Our call to kababayans is for them to be critical in reviewing this comprehensive immigration reform bill,” said Michelle Saulon of the National Alliance for Filipino Concer.
Marchers said thousands if not tens of thousands are expected to join the May Day festivities and marches at the Union Square in Manhattan on Wednesday.