Immigrant Rights News -- Thurs, Sept. 7, 2006
Immigrant Rights News -- Thurs, Sept. 7, 2006
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1. San Francisco Chronicle, "IMMIGRANTS, LABOR WALK ON COMMON GROUND"
2. New York Times, "Hispanic Leaders Meet to Plan Strategy"
3. Tucson Citizen, "Two dead, six injured fleeing border patrol"
4. A draft cut of a mini-movie online about the border dynamics:
"Wallyball" -- you'll need Quick Time to view it:
(Go to http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/win.html to get Quick Time)
San Francisco Chronicle
IMMIGRANTS, LABOR WALK ON COMMON GROUND
Reform issues attract members of both groups to Bay Area rallies
- Erin Allday, Jim Herron Zamora, Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Thousands of minority workers and labor activists took to the streets of San
Francisco, Oakland and San Jose on Monday to rally for immigration law
reform in the first major demonstrations on the issue since May, and the
first to take advantage of a new alliance between labor groups and Latino
By far the largest rally was in San Jose, as about 25,000 people, at
times taking up 10 blocks of Santa Clara Avenue, marched about 3 1/2 miles
Monday evening from Story Road to City Hall.
Several thousand people marched nearly 4 miles in Oakland, from the
Fruitvale district of East Oakland to the federal building downtown. The
crowd, estimated at 6,000 by organizers and half that size by police, waved
U.S. flags and carried signs calling for better treatment of
In San Francisco, members of hotel and janitor unions rallied alongside
fieldworkers and other day laborers. The crowd filled three blocks on Market
Street as it marched from Justin Herman Plaza to City Hall.
"We've already crossed one border. We need to cross another border, a
border to legalization," Maria Marroquin, director of the Day Worker Center
in Mountain View, said at the San Francisco march. "We know we are
scapegoated for all of the problems in society. But if people understood our
struggle they would be with us, because this is a human struggle."
Immigration reform is stalled in Congress. Conservatives argue for
increased militarization at the borders, and two Republicans have proposed a
plan that would require illegal immigrants to leave the country and reapply
for admission and legal work status.
Immigration proponents are asking for amnesty for illegal workers in the
United States and a chance for the country's more than 11 million illegal
immigrants to become citizens.
The Labor Day rallies were small compared with the national
demonstrations that took place four months ago, when millions of immigrant
rights supporters marched in cities around the country.
Still, organizers said Labor Day seemed like a natural choice to
demonstrate a new alliance between unions and illegal workers -- groups that
have at times been at odds during the national immigration reform debate,
protesters noted. Some of the Oakland marchers carried signs that said, "We
"This is a debate within our organization," said Brian Cruz, a member of
Local 790 of the Service Employees International Union, whose 1.8 million
members in the United States and elsewhere include cafeteria workers,
custodians and clerical employees. "But people in my local, we've been
taking a stance supporting immigrants. We see it as our cause, too."
San Francisco demonstrators said they had hoped for larger crowds on the
holiday Monday, but were pleased that many workers had been able to bring
their families on their days off.
At Justin Herman Plaza, truck driver J. Luis Martinez said he had
brought his girlfriend and their two children to the rally because changes
in immigration law could affect their family's future. Martinez came to the
United States more than 20 years ago and is a legal resident, but his
girlfriend is not and only one of his children is legal.
"We want to support this country. We love this country," Martinez said.
"We came from Mexico because our country did not back us up. We came here to
have an opportunity to better ourselves. We are not criminals. We are just
Hundreds of demonstrators showed up representing minority groups,
including 200 people from the Filipino Community Center who waved
multicolored banners as they walked along Market Street.
"We have 2 million to 3 million documented immigrants and another 1
million undocumented," said Terrence Valen, organizational director at the
community center. "We're out here because we have to remind people that the
immigration rights movement isn't going away. We can come up with a better
At the San Jose rally, there were thousands of marchers carrying
American and Mexican flags. Some of the demonstrators made a connection
between immigration reform and war in the Middle East, with signs reading,
"No war on immigrants, on Iraq or on Iran."
Many said they resented that the fight against terrorism was being used
as a reason to close the border and crack down on illegal workers.
"We are not criminals or terrorists. It's a mistake to close the
border," said Rene Lopez, a house painter. "We are here to work. If the
American people want to close their eyes, then they don't want to see who is
in their fields, in their factories and who is cleaning their houses."
Juana Ramirez, who came to the United States from Mexico as a child in
1989, said, "The mood in this country is not good. They just want to get rid
of us. They want to send us back to our country, but this my country. I
don't reject Mexico, but I've been here all my life."
In Oakland, demonstrators marched through several heavily immigrant
neighborhoods along International Boulevard. Although the marchers were
mostly Latino, they drew some support from many Southeast Asian immigrants
who have settled east of Lake Merritt.
Sister Ann Ronin, a Dominican nun who teaches English classes to
immigrants in East Oakland, said she was marching to protest "shortsighted
"I listen to some people talk about immigration as if immigrants were
not people," Ronin said. "Look around you. These are people: hard-working,
good-hearted people who just want a better life for themselves and their
New York Times
Hispanic Leaders Meet to Plan Strategy
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: September 7, 2006
Filed at 12:00 a.m. ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- What is being hailed as the largest gathering of
Hispanic leaders in decades began Wednesday with promises to re-energize a
campaign to secure citizenship for over 11 million illegal immigrants.
The four-day National Latino Congreso opened as the immigration reform
movement is trying to regain momentum following internal divisions and as
the U.S. Congress returns for its fall session having all but shelved
''This conference is designed to get us back on the offensive,'' said John
Trasvina, interim president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Education Fund. ''Congress is doing nothing for Latino issues.''
Sessions include speeches and workshops on registering Hispanic voters,
running Hispanic political candidates, wage gaps between Hispanics and
whites, environmental issues and a lack of access to health care in
immigrant communities. The conference culminates Saturday afternoon with a
The idea for the gathering developed several years ago when Hispanic leaders
reviewed census data and noted Hispanics still lagged far behind whites in
wages, education and access to health care, said Antonio Gonzalez, president
of the William Velasquez Institute, a think tank focusing on Hispanic
During Wednesday's opening remarks, organizers said efforts to register
thousands of new voters -- a promised legacy of protesters this spring --
would intensify as November's congressional elections approached.
So far, there is little indication of any such effect. An Associated Press
review this week of voter registration figures from Chicago, Denver,
Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and other major urban areas that saw large
rallies showed no sign of a historic new voter boom that could sway
On the Net:
Two dead, six injured fleeing border patrol
DAVID L. TEIBEL
A 13-year-old boy has become the second person to die from injuries
sustained this morning in an SUV rollover on the Tohono O'odham Nation as
the driver fled a U.S. Border Patrol agent and Tohono O'odham police, border
patrol spokesmen said.
The boy died at a hospital some time after the crash on South Mission Road
near West Valencia Road, said Senior Border Patrol Agent Jim Hawkins.
The crash also injured three woman and three men, Supervisory Border Patrol
Agent Jesus Rodriguez said earlier today.
Names of the dead and injured were not available and authorities have not
determined who was driving the reportedly stolen 2004 Dodge Durango when it
crashed about 4 a.m. Hawkins said.
An agent spotted the SUV heading north on Mission south of West Valencia
Road and for some reason, Rodriguez said, the agent suspected the SUV was
carrying drugs or illegal immigrants, turned on his emergency lights and
siren and tried to pull over the SUV.
The driver fled, exceeding the posted 45 mile-per-hour speed limit and the
agent turned off his emergency gear and followed at or below the speed limit
whille calling for help from Tohono O'odham police, Rodriguez and Hawkins
said, as the driver had fled onto the Tohono O'odham Nation.
As the SUV driver continued to flee the SUV hit a dip in the road just south
of Valencia and rolled.
When authorities arrived they found the dead man, four other males and three
women, Rodriguez said. He said they all were taken to hospitals either for
treatment. Hawkins said all had sustained serious injuries.