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Groups Will Take to the Streets Again to Support Pro-Immigrant Legalization PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia, Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 26 April 2012 03:16

March is Planned for Van Nuys Boulevard

PHOTOS BY ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

Pro immigrant groups and the 99% movement will march from Panorama City to the Van Nuys Civic Center along Van Nuys Boulevard as part of the May 1st marches in favor of a legalization reform.

As has become customary for the past few years, pro-immigrant groups are preparing to take to the streets to advocate for a legalization bill to benefit millions of people living in the shadows.

"May 1 is Workers' Day, and the day when we commemorate the suffering and the struggle of 12 million immigrants. A day when we come out together to show that united we can make a difference," said Gloria Saucedo of Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, a Panorama City-based pro-immigrant group.

Since 2006, when hundreds of thousands abstained from work and school, as part of a massive boycott, and took part in a march in downtown Los Angeles and several cities throughout the country, May 1 has become synonymous with public mobilizations on behalf of undocumented migrants.

This year is no different, although this time pro-immigrant groups will be joined by those in the "99%" movement.

On Monday, May 1, Occupy San Fernando Valley will march and protest along with Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, which starts at their office – located on 7915 Van Nuys Blvd. in Panorama City – and continue to the Van Nuys Civic Center.

The groups will begin gathering at 8 a.m., and along the way they will be protesting in front of banks and financial institutions they say are taking advantage of the "99%." After their rally at the Van Nuys Civic Center, the group will head to downtown Los Angeles and join in the traditional march held there along Broadway, which starts at 2:30 p.m.

"There's a connection between human rights and economic justice," said Oscar Reyes, member of Occupy San Fernando Valley. "Many of the immigrants don't have the same rights as the rest of the people and are suffering the same way as those who have lost jobs.

"We want to send a clear message to the owners of the country that wages have not gone up while executive bonuses are at an all time high. We're asking for livable wages and immigration reform," Reyes said.

"I don't know how we get to people's heart, but they have to put a value on the contributions of migrants to this country. We have to go out there with a positive attitude because this is the people's fight,"

Gloria Saucedo

Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants Will Help Economy

He said legalizing undocumented migrants could have an economic benefit to the country.

"There's a lot of money that the economy can get from (legalization) because they'll be able to work freely and get livable wages," Reyes added.

Ulysses Hernandez, another Occupy San Fernando Valley member, said people need to continue heading out to the streets to demand President Obama fulfill his campaign promises.

"Obama promised immigration reform, but he hasn't done it yet," Hernandez said.

More than one million undocumented immigrants have been deported since Obama took office, the most under any administration.

This is even more important in this year of presidential elections, continued Saucedo.

"I don't know how we get to people's heart, but they have to put a value on the contributions of migrants to this country. We have to go out there with a positive attitude because this is the people's fight," Saucedo said, noting it's important that people participate in the May 1 actions as "that day can change many people's lives."

Deportation Splits Family Across Border

That's what Vanessa Gonzalez is hoping for. Four years ago, she and her family left Arizona when politicians in that state began work on SB 1070, the measure that required local police to inquire as to the immigrant status of people pulled over.

Fearing the repercussions of the law, her father Valente Gonzalez, 42 and undocumented, decided to bring the family to California.

"They were starting to ask for my dad's (immigration) papers at work," said Gonzalez, 20. "We couldn't live there anymore for fear he could get pulled over and deported."

In an ironic twist, Valente was deported last year after being accused of trying to set fire to a car in Panorama City.

"He was smoking, leaning against a car and somebody called the police. When they got there, they smelled a lot of gasoline and somebody said my dad had tried to set fire to the car," Gonzalez said.

Valente spent several months in jail before signing a voluntary deportation order. He had lived in the United States for 10 years.

Since then, he's been living in Tecate, Baja California, doing odd jobs and staying with a friend.

"He says he can't stand being out there anymore. He wants to come back and be with us, but he hasn't been able to do it," Gonzalez said.

The family has struggled since then, because Valente, who worked as a painter and in construction, was the main contributor to their finances.

"We have to go all over to be able to make ends meet," said Juana, Gonzalez' mother, who cleans homes and visits several food banks in order to provide for her four children.

The family, which keeps in contact across borderlines through phones and text messages, has been participating in pro-immigrant marches since living in Phoenix and plan to join the May 1 mobilization in Van Nuys this year as well.

"We need to have legalization so that there's no longer family separations," Juana said.

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