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Workers Send “Mayday” Message to Oregon

April 30, 2008

Portland, OR – It's being called "A Day of Solidarity," when workers' rights organizations band together to show there's strength in numbers, and they've got plenty on the agenda at rallies in Portland and Salem.

For Oregon immigrants, the priorities are stopping workplace raids and deportation, and restoring driving privileges after the Legislature and Governor revoked them earlier this year for anyone without citizenship status. Aeryca Steinbauer of the immigrants' rights coalition CAUSA says this year, there's a dual focus on national politics.

"We want to call on the new candidates for the new administration to really prioritize just and humane immigration reform, within the first hundred days of their presidency. It's an urgent problem that needs courageous leaders."

Marco Mejia of the Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition says many groups will be represented at the May 1 rallies, from anti-war activists to labor unions.

"The peace movement is working side-by-side with us. We are working with the unions and many workers' organizations, so it is an effort that is more inviting. Immigrants' rights is not an isolated struggle, but it's connected to all the other struggles for our society."

Speakers at the rallies will ask lawmakers to oppose rules and legislation that could be seen as "anti-immigrant," from trade policies to fences at the U.S. borders, and to work toward a fair process to legalize immigrant workers and their families.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR