Photo Credit: New York Immigration Coalition
New York, NY-On May Day, known as International Workers Day, thousands of immigrant workers, labor leaders, unions and allies marched down the streets of lower Manhattan to demand a path to citizenship and worker protections.
“Immigrant workers across this country cannot wait any longer for President Biden to make good on his commitments to our communities,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition. “This May Day, immigrants and labor unions are uniting to demand safety and protection for all workers. It’s time for this White House to deliver a path to citizenship to millions of essential workers and end the remain in Mexico policy, among other Trump-era racist policies that hurt our families. New York State must also step up to deliver relief to our excluded workers who continue to toil without the safety nets afforded to the rest of us. Here, in New York, and across America immigrants have held this country together during a pandemic and are doing their part to rebuild and enrich their adopted homeland. Now, it’s time for President Biden and Governor Hochul to deliver the relief and safety our families need and deserve.”
Yaritza Mendez, Co-Director of Organizing at Make the Road New York, shared, “On International Workers Day, immigrant New Yorkers are sending a clear message: undocumented workers need a path to citizenship. Undocumented essential workers are part of the backbone of this country and economy, and many put their lives on the line during the pandemic. Yet, they remain excluded from a path to citizenship and full protections. For years, our communities have fought tooth and nail and now our Democratic leaders have the power to deliver on their promise of a path to citizenship and make it a reality. We urge President Biden and the Democratic leadership to move forward to pass permanent protections for all immigrants across the country. Now is the time.”
“On this International Workers’ Day, it is important we recognize our undocumented immigrant workers, many of whom risked their health to keep our supply chains and cities running during the global pandemic,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Labor is the heart and soul of this country, and our economy is dependent on the blood, sweat and tears of our American workforce. As major labor victories occur across the state, from Amazon employees on Staten Island to the Starbucks partners in Buffalo, we have to continue the fight by recognizing and rewarding the contributions of our immigrant workforce and providing them with a pathway to citizenship.”
“This May Day may be one of the most significant in my time serving the labor movement. A multi-racial, mutli-ethnic groundswell is returning May Day to its roots: a recognition that all working people share a common cause. Our ability to secure recognition for Excluded Workers, to win union elections where it is supposed to be impossible, and to unify organized labor around the unique struggles of immigrant workers is made stronger by recognizing that every worker has more in common with each other than they do with the forces that keep their wages low and their hours long. This holiday and the movement for a dignified life for workers has always been progressed by immigrant workers, and today we recommit to our cause – a world where every worker can return home to live full lives with our families after our work day is done,” said Jessica Ramos, chair of the Senate Labor Committee in the NY State Senate.
“As the fastest growing racial group in the U.S., Asian Americans and new immigrants from Asia form a critical part of the American workforce and society at large,” said Annie J. Wang, Director of the Immigrant Justice Project at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). “This May Day, we stand by the immigrant workers, many of whom are limited English proficient, that have been essential yet continue to face wage theft and exploitation by unscrupulous employers. As they have supported and served us prior to and throughout the pandemic, we must protect their rights and provide those who are undocumented with a pathway to citizenship.”
“May Day is a reminder of the struggles workers have endured. Especially after this pandemic, we must be reminded that immigrant workers have been and are the backbone of our country, yet they are continually excluded from federal & state aid and protections. Although a day of remembrance and celebration does not compensate for the systematic exclusion of immigrants from basic human rights, it is essential that we demonstrate solidarity and uplift the beauty of our multicultural existences for our communities on May 1st, International Workers’ Day,” said Brayan Pagoada, Deputy Director of Organizing at Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH). “Alongside our nationwide coalition, we believe the best way to continue to support immigrant workers is by passing and supporting a Pathway to Citizenship for ALL and access to federal and state resources. We won’t stop until every worker in our communities has access to strong worker protections and an accessible pathway to citizenship.”
“Immigrant workers have historically been put in unfair situations. As the pandemic progressed over the last two years, things have only gotten worse. Day laborers were the first to lose their jobs and the first to be shorted in their fair pay. Despite the risks on their health, the immigrant community took to the frontlines and supported their families and communities. They deserve better,” said Abigail Dorcin, Organizing Coordinator at La Colmena.
“This International Workers Day, our Workers Circle community is proud to be standing strong with our union and immigrant brothers and sisters, continuing the fierce activist tradition of our Eastern European Jewish immigrant founders. We celebrate the recent gains labor organizing has achieved and we celebrate immigrants whose critical contributions to our society make our neighborhoods, workforce, and democracy stronger. For far too long our nation has treated immigrants’ labor essential and their lives expendable. We pledge to keep organizing, speaking out, and voting – until we realize an America that delivers on its promise of equality and dignity for workers, for immigrants, and for us all. Today we stand in solidarity with worker and immigrant organizations to demand immigrant worker protections, covid relief, and a pathway to citizenship now!” said Ann Toback, CEO, The Workers Circle.