For Immediate Release:  May 1, 2021

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On May Day, or, International Worker’s Day, thousands proclaim that immigrant justice can wait no longer demanding long overdue immigration reform for 11 million undocumented, DACA, TPS, and essential workers

WASHINGTON, DC — Thousands of immigrants, activists, and allies marched in DC on May 1 to demand justice for immigrants from the administration and Congress. The demands were anchored on citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants — citizenship for the immigrants who have toiled as essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic, citizenship for DACA and TPS holders — and the use of reconciliation to pass immigration reform.

May 1, or May Day, is celebrated around the world as International Workers’ Day, a day that immigrant communities around the United States rise up to call for an end to racism and xenophobia, demand needed change, and show their power. The groups called on the President to go big, deliver solutions, and work with Democrats to achieve long overdue breakthroughs. Black and brown voters did their part in the elections of 2020 and are still mobilizing public support in 2021. The immigrant community needs President Biden to assert that leadership to translate this momentum into historic change. It is time for our representatives to deliver on the promises they made.

The march began at Black Lives Matter (BLM) Plaza and went down Pennsylvania Avenue and ended with a speaking program just outside the US Capitol on the National Mall. 

Luis Aguilar, CASA’s Virginia Director, DACA holder, said, “Now is the time for the Biden administration to prove its support for the immigrant community. May 1 – International Workers Day – presents the perfect opportunity for us as working class immigrants to stand together and speak to the Biden administration.”

“We are proud to march alongside immigrant workers whose labor has sustained the whole country throughout this pandemic,” said Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy. “President Biden spoke about the important contributions of immigrants to our country. He knows that millions of essential workers are undocumented. We urge President Biden to honor their contributions by making sure that the next rescue package includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and essential workers.”

Alejandrina Paz, a single mother and 32BJ SEIU essential office and hotel cleaner in Virginia who came from Honduras over 15 years ago, said, “Throughout the pandemic, immigrants have been essential workers, keeping office tenants safe and sound from COVID-19. We are an important piece for this economy and we deserve permanent status now.”

Oscar Rivera, member of Make the Road New York, said, “I am heading down to Washington D.C to urge President Biden to deliver on his promises. Undocumented immigrants cannot wait any longer for a pathway to citizenship. The recovery of our country must include long overdue relief to our communities. Immigrants like me have worked tirelessly, on the frontlines during this pandemic, while also living in fear of deportation or being separated from our loved ones. We call on President Biden to use every tool at his disposal to deliver a path to citizenship to undocumented people who contribute to our economy and call this country home.”

Jein, impacted community member with Woori Center, expressed, “President Biden, when you ran for President, you promised that you’d pass citizenship for all undocumented immigrants, but all we’ve seen you do in your first 100 days in office is deport more immigrants, re-open detention centers, and deny asylum to refugees. Every day that you don’t act on immigration is another day of fear and uncertainty for undocumented immigrants and their families. President Biden, keep your word and be the champion that you say you are by including citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in your ‘Build Back Better’ package!”

Jess Morales Rocketto, civic engagement director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-chair of the Families Belong Together Coalition, said, “Throughout this past year, millions of undocumented families were excluded from pandemic relief efforts and our social safety net, setting them up for even more hardships down the road. Every day, undocumented essential workers risk their lives on the frontlines, contributing to the community and fighting to survive. Domestic workers and all essential workers need work protections and a path to citizenship. There is no economic recovery without essential worker citizenship. Our country’s domestic workforce — made up of immigrant women — is the engine that powers our economy. Our public health response and economic recovery must meet the needs of undocumented domestic workers.”

Lorella Praeli, President of Community Change Action and a co-chair of We Are Home said, “More than five million people who are undocumented are also essential workers. They’ve been at the front lines, helping to keep our country going during the pandemic and yet, the country treats them as expendable, at risk of deportation every day. Congress and the White House must act boldly and swiftly to deliver with citizenship for our families.” 

Sulma Arias, director of immigrant rights at Community Change Action and a spokesperson for FIRM Action, said: “Immigrants are on the frontlines of the pandemic, working essential jobs to keep the country going and deserve a roadmap to citizenship. May Day is the escalation point for our movement that has been listening to empty promises for decades. Congress and the administration need to act and they need to do it quickly and without pause.”

Participating organizations: Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, CASA, Central American Resource Center of Northern CA (CARECEN SF), Central American Resource Center of DC (CARECEN DC), Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), Congregation Action Network (CAN), Community Change Action, DC Jobs with Justice, DC Labor Council, Doctors for Camp Closure, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Faith in Action, Families Belong Together, FIRM Action, Haitian Bridge Alliance, LIUNA – Public Service Employees Local Union 572, Make the Road New York (MRNY), NAKASEC, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), 32BJ SEIU, SEIU International, SPACES in Action, SURJ Baltimore, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ), UFCW Local 400, UNITE HERE Local 23, UNITE HERE, United We Dream (UWD), We Are Home Coalition