Hundreds of Thousands March for Immigrant Rights

May 7, 2007

On May 1, hundreds of thousands of people marched in cities and towns all across the U.S. to demand: "Full Rights for Immigrants!"

In addition to immigrant rights organizations, many unions, community organizations, churches and religious organizations, anti-war activists and others helped organize this national day of action. Prominent slogans included: "Stop the Raids and Deportations!" "No to the Militarization of the Border!" "For Family Reunification!" and slogans in opposition to the STRIVE Act as well as George Bush's immigration proposals. Banners and literature also opposed the U.S. government's wars in Iraq and elsewhere.

The largest demonstration was in Chicago where at least 150,000 people marched only days after 60 heavily-armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents had cordoned off a shopping mall in a Mexican-American neighborhood, detaining more than 150 people and arresting dozens.

In Milwaukee, another 80,000 people rallied in the largest demonstration in Wisconsin history. Madison and Racine also held big actions.

In New York City, more than 25,000 people joined in a march from Union Square to Foley Square, waving flags of immigrants from dozens of countries, including Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti, the Philippines, Palestine, Ghana, Somalia, etc.

As many as 50,000 people filled the streets of Phoenix, raising slogans against the militarization of the border. Another 10,000 people marched in Detroit, 10,000 in Tucson, 10,000 in San Francisco, 10,000 in Denver, etc. In North Carolina, people organized marches in Raleigh, Asheville, Burlington, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, Hicotry, Lumberton, Siler City, Wilmington, and Charlotte.

At least 25,000 marched in an afternoon rally in Los Angeles. A second march in the evening was attacked by police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of demonstrators, including children.

People also organized large actions in small cities and towns - 5,000 people rallied in Belle Glade, Florida; several hundred gathered in Spring Valley, N.Y., 1,000 in Hempstead, Long Island, 2,000 from New Bedford, Mass., etc.

People organized these massive actions in the face of intense repression and anti-immigrant propaganda from the government and the monopoly-controlled media.

Last year's gigantic immigrant rights movement forced the government to drop plans to further criminalize immigrants through the brutal Sensenbrenner bill. The people's movement also brought the agenda for immigrant rights to centerstage.

In retaliation, the government has launched coordinated gestapo-like raids against immigrants in workplaces and communities throughout the country. From October 2006 to March 2007, more than 125,000 people have been deported (a record number). Armed ICE agents have stormed factories, shackling and brutalizing workers, targeting union activists, deporting parents and leaving infants and children behind, etc. Similar raids are being carried out against immigrant communities to create an atmosphere of terror aimed at repressing the immigrant rights movement and forcing immigrants back into the shadows of the underground economy where they are mercilessly exploited and oppressed.

The inhuman conditions imposed on immigrants again starkly reveal the real character of capitalist "democracy" in the U.S. In reality, the current economic and political system imposes systematic repression, discrimination and superexploitation on workers based on their country of origin, their national heritage, language, and/or religion. More than 12 million undocumented workers and their families (50 million people) are kept at the bottom of a rigid caste system and denied all economic and political rights. Tens of millions more Americans, including legal immigrants, "guest" workers and national minorities are also under continuous attack from the government and the capitalist class.

The oppression of immigrant workers, in turn, is used by the capitalists to divide the working class and deny the rights of all.

The ongoing struggles for immigrants rights - which are unfolding both on a national scale as well as in local communities over a wide range of economic, political and social issues - are a vibrant and indispensable part of the struggle of the American people to create a truly democratic society which guarantees, in practice, equal rights for all human beings.