May 1 was a holiday for immigrants and essential workers in Los Angeles; both continued their fight against racism, against those who oppose the legalization of undocumented people in the United States and are against union democracy for all.
A large contingent of at least 10,000 participants gathered at the historic corner of Broadway Street and Olympic Boulevard, where they defied warm temperatures and marched together to Gran Park, in front of the Los Angeles City Hall.
“We call on the president [Joe Biden] to declare a general pardon for all undocumented workers, a first step to clear the path to citizenship and legalization,” asked Miguel López, a member of the 1970 Chicano Moratorium Committee.
A general pardon from the president is a power that only Biden controls and that would guarantee the rights of the undocumented to obtain employment benefits.
May 1 not only honors immigrants on the so-called “May Day”, but also the martyrs of Chicago who established the eight-hour workday and gave voice to the international movement of the working class in its struggle for dignity. , respect and justice.
Organized by the Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), its executive director, Angélica Salas, expressed that the population continues to march together “because we have not received the justice we deserve.”
“We want our families to be united, but we see what happens with our people who ask for asylum at the border and so many people who are here, and who deserve justice for all their contribution,” he added. “We continue to fight for racial equality for African Americans and Latinos, and with love we have to understand that we must defeat white supremacy in this country.”
A significant group of “dreamer” students, led by Professor Armando Vázquez, from the Center for California-Mexico-States Studies, advocated a “presidential pardon” for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
They yearn for President Joe Biden to act in a similar way to how former presidents Geraldo Ford did, who pardoned 250,000 deserters from the Vietnam War, after former President Richard Nixon surrendered power and the 550,000 pardons granted by the former President Jimmy Carter to those who evaded joining the ranks of the United States Army.
“I think there would be little chance of this request, because they do not even consider it an option,” Professor Vázquez stressed. “What’s more, they don’t know in Congress that the president could pardon undocumented immigrants, but he doesn’t want to do it.”
Who aspires to that forgiveness are the brothers América and Edgar López, both teachers, who live alone in the United States, since their mother decided to return to Hidalgo, Mexico to take care of her sick parents.
“We just need a chance to be better and contribute more to this country,” Edgar said. “It’s unfortunate that in this country you have to choose who comes and who doesn’t.”
The migrant federal deputy, María Elena Serrano, expressed that raising our voices is important, “and it is necessary to continue pressuring people in Washington, because it is time for them to give us immigration reform.”
For her part, Senator María Elena Durazo celebrated that some 200,000 undocumented immigrants in California may already be eligible to receive state health insurance.
“We will continue fighting until everyone has that benefit, so that we finally stop feeling that feeling of discrimination,” he said. “25 years ago they attacked us with Proposition 187; today we tell those who wanted to do us so much harm, that in California their policies are not going to work”.
Taking advantage of the demonstration, a contingent of street vendors populated the downtown streets of the Los Angeles metropolis to remind the municipal authorities that they will not rest until they eliminate the proposal to increase the sales permit fee from $291 to $591.
“In Chicago, the city works with its vendors and helps them do their jobs honestly by charging them just $100,” said Rosa Miranda, an organizer with the Community Power Collective. “The main opponent we have is Councilman Mitch O’Farrell; of 192 fines applied, 165 occurred in his district and it is clear that he wants to eliminate sales in Hollywood”.
One of the protesters, Lidia Catalán, from Guerrero, Mexico, who marched alongside her husband Gerardo and their children Rosa and Gerardo Jr., told La Opinion that for a decade she has been selling tools and jewelry, but the police won’t let them sell in peace.
“They should let us work in peace,” he said. “We are not harming anyone with our work; on the contrary, we contribute to the city’s economy with our taxes”.
With her agreed Edgar Murillo, 34, an immigrant from Durango, Mexico, who led the march in his wheelchair.
“We have to make ourselves known as immigrants; I joined the march, because like most, I would like to have my papers and a legal residence”, said the worker of a shipping company in Los Angeles.