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Massive rally in Union Square demands legalization of all immigrants

New York, May 1 — Tens of thousands of people rallied, chanted and rocked to Hip Hop performers and other artists and orators for more than three hours in Union Square today before marching two miles to the federal buildings in downtown Manhattan. This year’s May Day action focused on combating the recently passed Arizona anti-immigrant law and demanding legalization of all undocumented workers in the U.S. and their families.

With placards, chants and through talks from the podium, participants made it clear that they also opposed the proposals made by Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer for so-called immigration reform because it emphasized militarization of the border and repressive identification cards, and it delayed legalization.

Like New York City itself, the rally was extremely diverse, representing immigrant groups from all over South America and the Caribbean — many from Mexico — and from all over the Pacific Islands, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. There were also trade unionists, community organizers and many students and youths shouting their solidarity with the immigrants and raising their own demands for jobs, education and an end to wars.

The May Day rally was the largest in New York since 2006, when immigrants held the equivalent of a one-day national general strike to protest the Sensenbrenner Bill then raised before the U.S. Congress. The enormous outpouring at that time stopped that bill dead in its tracks.

Teresa Gutierrez, a spokesperson for the May 1 Coalition for Immigrant Rights — the group that initiated the call for May Day in Union Square the last five years — said, “Arizona is the home base of arch-racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others who falsely blame all problems of U.S. society on immigrants. These reactionaries thought they could get away with passing this repressive Arizona law, which is a threat to all immigrants, an insult to every Latino and Latina person, an assault on every person of color and an attack on all workers.

“This law has boomeranged on the racists. It ignited opposition nationally. It has aroused a new movement with a combative spirit that we all saw not only in Union Square today but also in Los Angeles, in Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona, in Texas and Chicago and in 80 cities around the United States.”

Gutierrez estimated from the platform at the end rally near the U.S. Courthouse that 25,000 people had taken part in the rally and march. By telephone, an organizer from Tucson reported on that city’s mass May Day action and one from Washington, D.C., told of 40 people arrested for civil disobedience. Gutierrez noted that the size, militancy and enthusiastic spirit of the rally and march had overshadowed other more politically timid activities, even though they were well-funded.

Toward the evening , news arrived from Jackson Heights, Queens, that police had harassed and arrested two women who were undocumented street vendors. Commenting on these arrests, Gutierrez said, “This shows that the climate of repression coming not only from Arizona but from the state and federal authorities is still harsh against our immigrant sisters and brothers. The struggle continues.”

Text from May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights
Photos © by Bud Korotzer











  1. revnardintheplace said,

    May 2, 2010 at 18:55

    These are some of the best MC’s in Chicago!!!! Check out my CHicago Hip Hop Mix lemme know what u think

  2. Dmr said,

    May 2, 2010 at 21:37

    It is not racist to not support what some of these people are advocating which is to give immediate legal status to over 20,000,000 people. It would be disastrous to just give blanket Ok to people who have not been medically checked or even if they can read and write. I would never be allowed to live illegally in Mexico nor anywhere else. But the Anti-America crowds are thick with foaming at the mouth on this subject. Which, btw, is the card that is being played that I predicted a few years ago. I said when the economy is in shreds expect the southwest to be the area first to start showing the violence.

    These people will pick through and find a few terrible racists and hold them up like its how most people feel. WE HAVE a right as Americans to be concerned without the continual humiliation by these Mexicans….whom if you research you will find to be some of the most terrible of racists of all. I work with Hispanics. They too are concerned by the wave of illegals coming through. They also have ties to Mexico and I’ve had them tell me how Mexicans are really racists towards Hondurans, and other indigenous from the south. They treat the darker Mexicans of the southern areas with contempt. I have been told point blank by Mexicans that I should be learning their language. Most these mexicans are of spanish decent. They are also considered white.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, along with the ADL are behind lots of this. They have spread lies about the hard working people in the U.S. Sure, there are some racists. Everyone has them. But kindly remember a nation that just elected a Black president obviously has a majority of people who do not look at race as issue.

    I live everyday in pain lately because I have no health care. A bad gall bladder and this could kill me. Yet my own country lets me languish while it gives out free medical to people who are not even legal citizens. Anyone would be upset by this. There are Americans who will do anything to be accepted by what is deemed good. Yet they don’t understand they are being used. (yet have no qualms about the killing overseas that they support) and

  3. Dmr said,

    May 2, 2010 at 21:42

    One more thing. I do work with many Mexicans. All are apparently here legally, yet, I have had to help many get through paper work as they cannot read or write, not even in spanish. Vicente Fox found a way to “cleanse” their society of the most uneducated and the over populated areas by sending them North for cheap labor for businesses. This in itself proves Racism at the heart of the Elite’s agenda as well as the Business community. We have enough people to worry and care for that need help. We should not be force to pay for these people’s care. many of them are just helpless. I feel bad for them, but we can’t take care of everyone.

  4. Bonnie said,

    May 2, 2010 at 21:44

    Oh, yu ought to see the Immigration Laws of Mexico! Visas are for tourists are for a set amount of days. No public benefits, if any, to foreigners. They do NOT allow foreigners in, unless they boost the economy, otherwise, you’re out.

    But Mex. is very happy to see the “peasants” and poor people leave, because as long as this is happening, this is a valve leaking the steam of discontent, then Mexico will have no incentive to correct it’s own abuses. Just let everybody leave, the Mexican Elite will be very happy. And the poor peaople and “peasants” will continue to pour out.

    The “new” laws of Ariz are NOT new, they’ve been on the books for some time, only now, the laws are being enforced.



    The illegals are straining resources that the very citizens can hardly afford. Our economy is on the downswing, and illegals want to stay?! Want to keep coming in?!

    HELL, we, hardly have jobs for ourselves!

    Not only that, but the more we let them get away with using Public resources, schools, food stamps, etc, the more illegals will keep pouring in!.

    Besides this, there are many, many other reasons, that not only should Ariz enforce the LAW, but others States should follow suit. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!


    A Latina from NYC

  5. Janet Hughes said,

    May 2, 2010 at 22:16

    This is disgusting. I do NOT support any immigrants entering this country illegally. These people who enter this country and demand that we, the tax payers fork over our money as they can live here. Why? NO! HELL NO!!!! I wonder how it would work if say you entered Mexico and demanded that you be able to march making demands on their population? They probably shoot you!

    I say there should be an immediate ten year moratorium NO IMMIGRANTS….NONE. And, then take a look and determine at that time our needs. Now, every last illegal – yes, every single goddam illegal GET OUT!

  6. Janet Hughes said,

    May 2, 2010 at 22:20

    I just tried to submit but I received something saying I had already said that….NO I have not.

    I do not want illegals – no illegals here in the US. for many, many reasons that have been said before. Illegal means just that – you are not legal. I don’t care what reason(s) you give because it does not matter….it is just BS!

    Let us have a ten year moratorium where no immigrants are allowed in this country. We need to find out what kind of mess we presently have.

    Then, right now get ALL illegals out of this country. ALL OF THEM….NOW!!!

  7. Anaxamander of Arius said,

    May 2, 2010 at 22:33

    The Arizona law is the same as the Federal Law, only passed in the state legislature.
    There have been no previous demonstrations against the Federal Law.
    The Feds do not enforce the Federal Law.
    The new state law (clone of federal law) does not make it a crime to be any ethnicity, it simply restates that it is a crime to be in the United Snakes (Esclavos Unidos) illegally.
    Try entering Mexico illegally and see what the penalties are!
    Best of luck/Buena suerte!!!

  8. michael mazur said,

    May 2, 2010 at 22:50

    On Reader Letters for 13/4 (it’s still there) there is this;

    ~~READER: From a Florida ER doctor: “I live and work in a state overrun with illegals. They make more money having kids than we earn working full-time. Today I had a 25-year old with 8 kids – that’s right 8; all illegal anchor babies and she had the nicest nails, cell phone, hand bag, clothing, etc. She makes about $1,500 monthly for each; you do the math. I used to say, “We are the dumbest nation on earth.” Now I must say and sadly admit: WE are the dumbest people on earth (that includes ME) for we elected the idiot idealogues who have passed the bills that allow this. Sorry, but we need a revolution. Vote them all out in 2010.” ~~

    So, this woman gets herself into the US at age 15 – it would have to be about that as she didn’t pause for breath when she `did the math` and started churning them out, and now is pulling in $144,000 a year, which would be nice for single American girls too, but for them CPS looks to whisk their kid away for `the good of the child`.

    Devvy Kidd in writing in support of the Arizona bill for police to ask people who might be illegal for their ID, writes of 10yr old girls being brutally raped and murdered by animals from the south of the border, meaning of course that had their presence been detected earlier and acted upon, these horrific crimes would not have happened.

    It needs to be said that were the US to enforce existing federal law in the same way that Mexico enforces its own immigration laws, there would be a wholesale deportation of the 22,000,000 illegals back to Mexico.

    US failure to enforce can only mean the replacement of the European in America as was intended by the 1965 Immigration Act, which can only be enhanced by the Mexican law that their land may not be owned by foreigners, but may instead be leased.

  9. sarum said,

    May 2, 2010 at 23:04

    I do think that it should be considered a human right to have a job with life sustaining wages, meaning that you should be able to make enough money to replace yourself in the workforce by raising children. I think that this human right to sustainable wage work does supercede national boundary rights. However, many born and raised citizens do not have a sustainable wage. Many young people do not have entry level jobs and of course at this time many people of all ages do not have jobs.

    Putting the current economy aside, the facts are that illegals have always cost us too much. Arizonans know that for every illegal who receives benefits from AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) which is Arizona’s version of Medicaid, for every illegal who receives free medical treatment, a born and raised citizen is denied. These crimes against citizens used to be documented and discussed by local media before the topic became such a hot issue. So despite the fact that I believe that it is a human right to have a sustainable wage job – I also believe that it is a citizen’s human right to reap the benefit of their work.

    It is the work of we citizens that has been taxed to create the social safety net, such as it is. We have a human right to reap the benefit of our work and that benefit is being stolen from us by our government and given to the illegals. We are not prejudice. It is simply economics and a matter of our rights being trodden.

    My Mexican-American family will tell you that the Mexican people are the most racist people that they know. I do not believe that to be true, however I have lived with it for most of my life and I am weary of it. The ignorant charges of racism and prejudice are insulting and ridiculous, especially considering that the illegals and some US born Mexicans routinely dole out the most hostile racism in the region. Just for that they should be sent back. We give and give and give and they want more and more and more – and they do not appreciate that for everything they get a citizen is denied. So send them and their nasty attitudes and their racism back to their nation of origin!

    And this BS that US born and raised won’t do the work that the illegals do? It is exactly that – BS. In case you have not tried – just try it. Try to get a job where your co-workers are non English speaking and or illegals. I promise you that you will not last long on the job because you will be life threatened. That is why you do not see mixed groups of people on those jobs.

  10. jake k said,

    May 2, 2010 at 23:05

    In the end all this illegal immagration will turn to violence and death when american citizens decide to take back their country.We will do what we have to do to save this great nation. It is very very sad that a second civil war is needed now to save america. God help us all

  11. May 2, 2010 at 23:13


  12. Mike Adkison said,

    May 2, 2010 at 23:44

    Desert peace: Aren’t you off topic here? What does illegal immigration into the US have to do with the brutalization of Palestinians? Oh, do you mean desert, as in Mexican and AZ desert? How can you advocate illegal entry into any country? How can this be considered a racial issue when there are many legal latinos residing in AZ? Of course, it’s not. That’s just a tactic. Mexico has some of the strictest immigration laws in the western hemisphere. Get caught entering Mexico illegally and you will find yourself in a Mexican jail chained to a toilet getting beaten half to death. You think we should have open borders to anyone who wants to come here? Give them public services,; welfare, food stamps, housing, medical care and free education. A billion people are poised and willing to enter the US. Should we let them all come and roll the red carpet out for them? They can have my home and my job. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m a racist!

  13. Crazy J said,

    May 2, 2010 at 23:46

    Too bad New York doesn’t have a law like Arizona’s – they probably could have shipped back a few busloads of illegals that day.

  14. No Name said,

    May 3, 2010 at 00:43

    Is there a limit to absorbing different cultures? San Francisco has its own immigration policy. Last week, during public comment at the SF Board, there was an outpouring of concern by one ethic group against another. The likes of which has not been heard in years. Meanwhile, the Board of Stupes are busily preparing retaliatory actions against Arizona for passing a law (mirrors federal law) controlling their own borders.

  15. May 3, 2010 at 01:08

    […] MAY DAY IN NEW YORK …. AGAINST RACISM IN ARIZONA AND PALESTINE « Desertpeace. May 2nd, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed | […]

  16. dogismyth said,

    May 3, 2010 at 02:41

    Just remember, they are your brothers and sisters, so treat them as you would like to be treated.

    The governments of our lands have created this tension, and it may be their hidden goal to create civil tension and strife among the peasantry they rule and own. It is the government that your anger should be directed towards, not those taking advantage of a situation. This unenforced immigration into our country is being orchestrated for a reason. Common sense says to stabilize the borders. Why is it that the government cannot or will not do this? What is their agenda?

    They hid behind human and civil rights for these illegal immigrants, but when it comes to rights for its citizens, they are graciously taken away for any obnoxious reason. There is a plan here that the corrupt gov officials and corporatists have for you. That is where your energy needs to be directed. You must search and demand answers from those that are responsible for protecting their citizens in this country. Otherwise, you must be seen and heard so that they know we will not stand for this mockery.

  17. Montana said,

    May 3, 2010 at 02:43

    I saw Jay Leno at Correspondent Dinner his best line was; “That was my favorite story (this year) Republicans and a Lesbian bondage club. It’s ironic, Republicans don’t want lesbian getting married but they do like watching them “tie the knot”. So I thought that was interesting.”

    You can say the same about Tea Party, they say they respect the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence but they do not mind passing laws, through weak Governors who only care about getting reelected on the backs of undocumented workers, that will not pass Constitution muster, just like Arizona’s House Bill 2779 from two years ago, keep passing them Arizona and the rest of us will continue to challenged them and you will fail in a court of law (and yes we will boycott you). Their phony patriotism is sickening, they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Let’s face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions). The Birthers and the Tea party crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and people like Hamilton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believed that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now it’s about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits and the crazy Birthers who have not learned that the way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked internet lies, then, and only then, do you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called “facts”. Let’s face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. I heard that Orly Taitz now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, that’s like saying that the Catholic Church cares about the welling being of children in their care, too late for that.

  18. jake k said,

    May 3, 2010 at 04:19

    Yes I want to uphold the laws that we americans have made for this country so if you want to call me a racist for wanting every parasite illegal mexican and their offspring out of my country while they are still above ground then I guess I am a racist. Get those wetbacks out of here……….today!

  19. Holocaust Gaza said,

    May 3, 2010 at 06:43

    7 Million Americans live in Europa alone, they should be send home, plus the US occupational forces Word wide inclusive their WMD.

    Besides that, all Americans who didn’t get their ID issued by the rightful landowners the Indians and the Mexicans should leave now.

  20. desertpeace said,

    May 3, 2010 at 09:24

    I never realized that so many ignorant people read this Blog.
    Hopefully they will continue to visit and eventually their minds will open up.

  21. michael mazur said,

    May 3, 2010 at 10:30

    That 25 yo illegal in Florida with the 8 anchor kids pulling in $144,000 a year wasn’t ignorant at all, pretty smart, smarter than white American families who aren’t working either, but doing very nicely just the same, thankyou, eating out of dumpsters.

    Maybe the said white American families ought to, on obtaining Mexican citizenship, cross back into the United States . . .

  22. Bonnie said,

    May 3, 2010 at 15:39

    Desert Peace:
    You know, I have to tell you this. And you will NOT like it..people don’t usually like to hear the take it like a woman! With strength!

    You compare the Palestinian atragedy with the iIllegal Imigrants in the U.S.
    What does one have to do with the other? The case of Palestine and the illegals is completely opposite to the other.

    Think about it.

    You are AGAINST illegal settlements in Palestina.
    But then, on the other hand, you are FOR the illegals in the U.S.

    What gives?

    The situation of the land belonging, if one can really own land, to the current peoples born there, who worked it and created a life, and advanced the culture, is the same everywhere.

    And in the U.S. Southwest, it’s the same deal.

    That Palestina should be invaded is certainly UNACCEPTABLE.
    And so is the case, with the invasion of the illegals from Mexico.

    You see, a handful, weeell, that can pass, but now it’s a flood.

    And the more there are, the more of a bad attitude these people have. They have the nerve to say, “Nuevo Azatlan,” and that the Southwest belongs to them. So they’ve gotten aggressive. But I say:

    1-Why don’t they get aggressive in their own country, Mexico? Because they know well, that the Mexican millitary will not hesitate to mow them down. The people in the U.S. are overall, easy pickings.

    2-If they’re going to talk about the U.S. Southwest should revert to Mexico, then why doesn'[t Mexico give Mexico back to the Indians, who it beloneged to inthe first place? Give it back to the Mayans, The Tlalascans, the Texcocos, ans do may other Tribes?

    Instead, Mexico makes sure to keep mowing down it’s own Indigenous peoples, lmaking sure they never raise their hads off the ground.

    But the Mexicans here, in the U.S. are now demanding rights, what rights?
    They have NO rights!

  23. Benito said,

    May 9, 2010 at 23:44

    I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. All of us ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated, but this is not the case.

    I know the proponents of this law say that the majority approves of this law, but the majority is not always right. Would women or non-whites have the vote if we listen to the majority of the day, would the non-whites have equal rights (and equal access to churches, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, schools, colleges and yes water fountains) if we listen to the majority of the day? We all know the answer, a resounding, NO!

    Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics and do what is right, not what is just popular with the majority. Some men comprehend discrimination by never have experiencing it in their lives, but the majority will only understand after it happens to them.

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