May 1, 2018 march in Santa Ana
May 1, 2018 march in Santa Ana Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register

As the influx of migrants reaching the United States continues to reshape the country's political landscape, many of this year's Labor Day rallies are marked by calls from Latino rights organizations for immigrant workers.

Labor unions and immigration organizations are among the groups marching on May 1st across the country, with events in California, Iowa, Washington, Houston, Texas, among them. They are calling for an immigration reform and advocating against restrictive laws, especially regarding undocumented workers.

On Tuesday, immigrant rights and labor activists gathered at Houston City Hall, in Houston, to commemorate International Workers' Day and to protest against Texas' SB4, a (currently blocked) law allowing state authorities to arrest and deport unlawful migrants found in the state.

The protesters urged Mayor John Whitmire and the Houston Police Department to develop a strategy to safeguard the city's Latino communities in the event of SB4's reinstatement. They sought for "assurances that the city and HPD will prioritize their safety over Governor Greg Abbott's racist, unconstitutional, and unenforceable policies," according to an article by the Houston Chronicle.

Advocates in California, in turn, focused their May 1 rallies on immigration rights. In Hollywood, organizations such as Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights LA (CHIRLA), Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, United Teachers Los Angeles, and the Service Employees International Union, among others, are taking the streets with this purpose.

"On this day, we take stock of the contributions of all workers as well as recognize their humanity and dignity. There's much work to be done on behalf of those who silently work hard but often get mistreated, paid unfairly, or are regarded as cogs in a machine,"Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA, told The Latin Times.

The organization feels "proud to join such a diverse coalition this year," she added, "because together we represent strength and demonstrate that in a city as diverse as Los Angeles, we can achieve results by building coalitions and speaking in one voice for those who are most vulnerable."

"As CHIRLA we will always stand for immigrant rights, especially seeking protection for the millions of immigrants who have waited decades to be recognized with a path to citizenship. We believe in people power and today we join hand in hand with those who share our vision of a fair and just society for all."

Iowans are preparing to take to the streets on May
Iowans are preparing to take to the streets on May 1st to voice their opposition to a new immigration law

The May 1st march in Santa Ana, California, also known as the "¡Unidad y reforma migratoria ahora!" march (Unity and Immigration Reform Now!), will call for comprehensive immigration reform, including pathways to citizenship and protections for immigrant workers. Local activists will also address concerns about the potential impact of Donald Trump's policies on the immigrant community if he is reelected.

Mike Gonzalez, president of the community organization Los 32 Por México told The LA Times: "in light of the cruel and relentless racist attacks by former President Donald Trump against workers, immigrants, public education, and other communities, we must all recognize that the time to resist is now."

Similar protests will be held in other California cities, such as Oakland, where Mujeres Activas y Unidas is inviting people to join a demonstration at the Oakland Federal Building. "We call on all workers to join us in the streets of Oakland as we stand with all workers who are exploited within this U.S. Empire," their Instagram post says.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Washington, a labor and immigrant rights coalition, including organizations such as the Latino Community Fund in Washington state, has invited people to join a "Workers Day" demonstration at Westlake Park in Downtown Seattle. "#Solidarity has no borders, because capital has no borders," the invite says.

One week from today: #InternationalWorkersDay!Join us in DSM to celebrate the Day of Action and stand together against anti-immigrant attacks! RSVP here:...

In Iowa, activists are also taking the streets on May 1st to voice their opposition to a new immigration law, passed in mid-April, which seems to take a page out of Texas' book by also allowing state law enforcement officers to arrest undocumented migrants.

Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice is sponsoring a demonstration in Stewart Square Park, in the city of Des Moines, at 6 pm, under the slogan 'May Day Human Rights March.'

In Waterloo, a similar demonstration is set to happen, sponsored by Queen of Peace Parish and Waterloo Hispanic Ministry. The event will be held at 7 p.m. in the parking lot behind Queen of Peace Catholic Church. Participants will march a block east to Lincoln Park where there will be a short program and prayer service.

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