May Day march activists call for US immigration reform, fair work accommodations

Evelyn Holmes Image
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Activists fight for US immigration reform, fair work accommodations
Activists gather at Union Park and marched to Federal Plaza in order to call for immigration reform.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- People all over the world, including in Chicago, hit the streets Saturday to fight for fair work accommodations.

The rally in Chicago was also to stand up for immigrant families as local activists made another push for immigration reform and called for citizenship for those who are undocumented.

Several hundred people started at Union Park and ended up in Federal Plaza.

"No one's from this country unless you're like Native American, so everyone literally came here from somewhere else, so we need to respect that, and we need to honor that," said Fernando Martinez,

Saturday's call to action is part of an annual May Day rally and march that is organized by several grassroots organizations. The event is to celebrate workers rights while demanding immigration reform.

"Right now is the moment for relief. Undocumented people are living in fear," said Bassen Kawar, political director at Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

A domestic worker said she has been undocumented for 20 years and is terrified of being deported.

Immigration advocates said the system is broken.

"They need to find a path to legalize. They work hard. They deserve that. That's why we are here, to fight for all of them" said Irasema Soriano, Mujeres Latinas en Accion.

President Joe Biden called for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Some groups estimate there are over 400,000 immigrants living without legal status in Illinois alone.

"We are tired of waiting, tired of these politicians' lies and broken promises, tired of being political pawns," said Min Hee Cho, HANA Center.

Hundreds gather for a rally in Union Park before marching to Federal Plaza. They also demanded the return of 2,000,000 deportees, the release and reunification of families at the border and accountability by law enforcement.

"Moving forward, we reform the immigration system and decouple it from the criminal justice system. Why? It tears families apart," said U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, (D) IL-4th District.

Activists said their work is far from over. They plan on continuing to pressure local officials, law enforcement immigration as well as lawmakers.