Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Filipinos in New York Join May Day Actions for Immigrant Rights

News Release
April 28, 2008

Reference: Steven Raga, Coordinator, BAYAN USA Northeast, email:

Filipinos in New York Join May Day Actions for Immigrant Rights

New York-- Under the banners of BAYAN USA and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Filipinos in New York will be joining the scheduled May 1st mobilization in Union Square for immigrant rights and legalization for the undocumented. The scheduled action will take place take place at 4pm starting with a rally at the historic Union Square in Manhattan. The Filipino contingent will be meeting in front of the Virgin Megastore along Union Square South and Broadway at 1:30pm. The action will conclude with a march down Broadway to Foley Square.

For the past two years, Filipinos in New York have not only participated in, they have helped organize "May Day" actions for immigrant rights. Active and founding members of the New York May 1st Coalition for Immigrant Rights, BAYAN USA and NAFCON have done their part in rallying Filipino representation in these historic marches, the first of which ballooned into the largest mobilization in New York history back on May 1st, 2006.

Hundreds of Filipinos, the second largest immigrant community in the United States, marched down Broadway demanding legalization for all the undocumented, family reunification for immigrants, a scrapping of the immigration backlog, and worker rights for immigrant workers. Since then, conditions for immigrant workers have worsened, as now the Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE is enacting random checkpoints and raids on many immigrant families, including Filipinos.

"We cannot deny that the US immigration system has deep impact on the lives of nearly four million Filipinos in the US, one million of which remain undocumented," states BAYAN USA's Jonna Baldres. "If we don't demand that this broken system be positively reformed so that it recognizes all immigrants as human beings with inalienable rights, then we are accepting defeat against the capitalist monster."

The worsening living conditions for the Filipino people under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are also at play when forcing Filipinos to migrate out of their motherland to the United States.

"The truth is the extreme poverty, corruption, and now food crisis in the Philippines sends over 3000 Filipinos out of the Philippines daily. Many come to the US seeking decent lives and to support their loved ones back home. We cannot tolerate a racist and xenophobic immigration system here in the US. May Day must be a day we fight for our rights, just as the early manongs did along the Pacific Coastline at the turn of the 20th century. No concession from the state ever came without extreme struggle. May Day is no different," Baldres added.

Among the demands for this Thursday's action will be an end to the ICE raids and deportations, which continue to intensify in the tri-state area. Many Filipinos have fallen victim to random checks by security forces in trains, buses, and other means of public transportation. Many more are rounded up, detained without due process, and deported back to the Philippines.

All are welcome to join the BAYAN USA/NAFCON contingent for May 1st, which will be marked by the Philippine flag at the 1:30pm meeting point. For more information, contact Steve Raga at ###

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