Workers, immigrant rights activists march for change in US

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at May 03 2013 10:52 AM | Updated as of May 03 2013 06:52 PM

NEW YORK - Union members and activists marched in cities across the United States on Wednesday to commemorate International Worker’s Day .

Some marched to demand an overhaul of US immigration laws, with Congress set to consider sweeping legislation that would bring many of the estimated 11 (m) million people living in the US illegally out of the shadows.

“Our message for Obama is to really have a dignified and a just immigration reform -- one that does not illegalize humans and people that's why we are calling for legalization for all,” said Anneberyl Corotan of the National Alliance For Filipino Concerns.

Immigrant groups describe the “Gang of 8's” proposal on immigration overhaul as unjust because “it would leave out too many immigrants and focus too much on border enforcement.”

“It also cuts a lot of immigration provisions and visas that would reunite our families -- which is a big issue in the Filipino Community,” said Bayan USA's Jackie Mariano.

In Los Angeles, the loudest pleas came from immigrants who want to be reunited with their families.

“Our families are important to us all and when we talk about family reunification aren't brothers and sisters part of that family too?” said march participant John.

“At least they are going to clear up the backlog on the brother sister category, remember there are millions in that category,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) “Filpinos are are waiting as long as 24 years so this is a good thing but we don't like the fact that they have taken away the category.”

For many Filipino marchers in New York, the May Day march is a declaration that people are organizing for their rights and not waiting for those rights to be granted.