May Day Marked In NYC With Immigration Reform Call

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. May 1, 2013: Thousands of people marched down Broadway on International Workers Day, or Labor Day, on Wednesday May 1, 2013, in New York City, echoing the call for immigration reform now.

The rally was part of 85 May Day demonstrations taking place nationally, including in Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix and other cities pushing for immigration reform and labor rights. Protesters marched in downtown Manhattan toward City Hall waving banners and banging on drums. Paper rats on sticks – intended to symbolize abused migrant workers – bobbed along Sixth Avenue as about 200 protesters set off from Bryant Park, chanting: “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

In Union Square, some speakers alternated between English and Spanish for the benefit of the diverse crowd, which included a sizable portion of immigrant protesters who did not speak English.

Gonzalo Venegas, a 28-year-old member of a hip-hop activist group from the Bronx, who was born in the United States after his family members fled Chile as political refugees, expressed frustration over the fact that he is a U.S. citizen but his brother and mother are not.

“The new Gang of Eight proposal for immigration reform is pretty much offering crumbs,” he said, “and creating a second-tier class of citizenship.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act on May 9. Advocates believe it will be introduced on the Senate floor by May 25th.

Photo: Hayden Roger Celestin