Immigrant Worker Freedom Rides
Taking a note from the Civil Rights Movement, immigrant workers and their supporters are setting out on the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, departing from nine major U.S. cities to cross the country in buses in late September. The group plans to make a stop in Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress around the first of October, then to travel to New Jersey, ending with a mass rally in New York on October 4.
The group hopes to raise awareness and make changes in the current immigration system. Specifically, the group wants legalization for the estimated 10 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, stronger rights for workers, and the right for their families to move here.
Twenty buses carrying approximately 800 people will be departing from cities around the country. The nine major starting points for the rides are Seattle and Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Miami, and Boston. Each one of these routes makes stops in close to 100 cities through different parts of the country, with a focus on central and southern portions of the country where illegal immigrant populations are high.
Included in the numerous groups who are supporting this trek include representatives from civil rights organizations, immigrant organizations, labor unions, elected officials, religious organizations, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
In addition, a group made up of students, professors, and professionals from around the country plan to deliver the “Petition for Academic Visa Reform” to the members of Congress during the Immigrant Workers Freedom Rides in Washington and at the Freedom Rides rally in New York. The petition came from the International Student Committee of the Graduate Employees and Student Organization (GESO). The group hopes to show Congress what changes they would like to see in the visa process for students, removing some of the restrictions that have been implemented since September 11. The number of student visas issued by the State Department decreased from 226,465 in October 1999 through August 2000, to 174,479 in October 2002 through August 2003, according to the department.
Also among those who are supporting the Freedom Rides is the AFL-CIO, a federation of 60 labor unions. The group believes that the rides and the rallies will bring more awareness to the public about immigrants’ contributions and their concerns.
Disclaimer: This newsletter is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney client relationship. Any reliance on information contained herein is taken at your own risk.