MEDIA RELEASE: Actions Across North Carolina on May 1st, International Labor Day, Call For Fair Immigration Reform

MEDIA RELEASE: Actions Across North Carolina on May 1st, International Labor Day, Call For Fair Immigration Reform

RALEIGH (May 1) -- On May 1, several planned events across North Carolina will honor international Labor Day. Those who participate are continuing a tradition of workers and immigrants standing together for labor rights, comprehensive immigration reform and other issues of common interest.

A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds that low-income Latinos are routinely the targets of wage theft, racial profiling and other abuses driven by an anti-immigrant climate. "North Carolina has shamelessly become ground zero for local immigration enforcement, which contributes to a tense environment for immigrants in our state," said Tony Asion of El Pueblo, Inc. The first step towards shifting the current climate is to implement a sensible and humane fix to an immigration system everyone agrees is badly broken.

Supporters of immigration reform will participate in traditional and non-traditional actions on this May Day. Some of these events include a silent vigil in Asheville in support of those targeted by unjust immigration laws, a community awareness event in Charlotte and statewide actions including blogging, phone banking, e-mail blasts and mass dissemination of information through Spanish-language radio to keep the Latino community engaged and up-to-date on immigration policies and possibilities for significant changes. For details on May Day events in North Carolina please visit: http://ncimmigrants.blogspot.com/. A list of events around the United States is available at http://www.anewdayforimmigration.org/

"The marches and demonstrations for immigrants' rights and workers' rights in recent years have inspired us tremendously. We believe in the power of immigrant communities, ordinary American citizens, and allied organizations to create positive changes this year," said Dani Martinez-Moore, Coordinator of the NC Network of Immigrant Advocates at the NC Justice Center. Through the actions of May 1st and beyond, elected leaders in Washington will feel the pressure to support President Obama's call for immigration reform this year.

Raids in workplaces and neighborhoods and local law enforcement agents zealously searching for noncitizens to deport are terrorizing immigrant workers and dividing families. All this is happening without making North Carolina any safer and without fixing the real problems with our immigration system. "We already marched, we already voted. Today we seek immigration reform to finally bring millions of workers, students, neighbors and friends out of the shadows and finally put an end to the senseless raids and deportations," said Irene Godínez of El Pueblo, Inc.

Immigrant and Latino voters turned out in record numbers in 2008. There is a great deal of interest in seeing the President work with Congress to make good on his campaign promise to move comprehensive immigration reform forward this year.  The May 1 rallies and events are just an expression of that continued hunger for reform.  "We can no longer ignore the immigration issue and pretend that the 12 million undocumented people are not here," said Stacey Bonilla of Bonilla Community Services. "We must confront this challenge and finally fix our archaic and broken immigration system."

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Dani Martinez-Moore (919) 856-2178; Tony Asion (919) 835-1525; Irene Godínez (919) 835-1525; Stacey Bonilla (704) 737-7124.