May Day Rallies Set for NC
RALEIGH, N. C. - Rallies, marches and vigils are marking May 1 in North Carolina, with thousands gathering on Saturday to highlight immigration issues on International Workers Day.
Gia Gillis is organizing a candlelight ceremony in Durham. She says Arizona's new immigration law is of particular concern, because North Carolina and other states could consider similar laws. It allows local police to stop anyone they think might look like they're in the country illegally.
"We're in solidarity with what's happening in Arizona, and against the deportations that are ripping families apart in North Carolina."
Gillis believes Arizona's new law has heightened awareness of an urgent need for national immigration reform.
Viridiana Martinez from Raleigh is traveling to Washington D.C. to rally for the DREAM Act. An acronym for "Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors," the federal legislation would allow children of undocumented immigrants to attend college.
"We're the generation that came as young 'uns, and now we are adults and we're saying, 'This isn't right, and we have to fix it.'"
Immigrants make up about 12 percent of the nation's population and contribute to 14 percent of the nation's economy, according to David Kallick, a researcher at the Fiscal Policy Institute.
"I think it's very important for people to understand, as we think about immigration reform, that
immigrants are a very big part of our overall gross domestic product."
Around the state, Saturday events are also planned in Asheville, Carrboro, Charlotte, Greensboro, Hendersonville, Kernersville and Raleigh.