A Day without Immigrants
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May 1, 2006: More than one million immigrants marched through the streets in order to fight for more rights of undocumented aliens in more than 50 US cities. In a huge protest wave from the East Coast to the West Coast, people protested against federal legislation that is about to criminalize an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. The purpose of the “Day without Immigrants” was to emphasize how important illegal immigrants are for the U.S. economy. Major demonstrations were reported in Florida, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and other locations. The majority of the demonstrators were originally from Mexico, Central and South America. Throughout the entire country, May 1st meant a day of boycotting work and school in favor of rallies and marches to legalize
illegal immigrants. “More rights for immigrants” or “No human being is illegal” was written on banners that were held up by legal and illegal protestors, while Bruce Springsteen’s song “Born in the USA” was played everywhere.
Several schools reported up to 50% of their students not showing up for class, and hundreds of companies and factories were shut down for the day because their employees were taking part in the demonstrations and did not show up for work. Nannies and gardeners informed their wealthy employers that they would not show up for work, and farmers’ markets came to a standstill. However, the atmosphere among the demonstrators was overwhelmingly joyous and peaceful, and there was little or no tension with the police. "We have far exceeded our expectations," said Mahonrry Hidalgo, chairman of the Immigration Committee of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey. "The events were intended to show solidarity and, at the same time, send a message that injustice against the immigrant community is unacceptable. This is not the end of our struggle. It is the beginning.”
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