Another step in the collapse of the good o'l US of A

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Rallies demand immigration reforms ... 99425.html

Thousands of demonstrators gather outside City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

May 2, 2006 - 9:17AM

Hundreds of thousands of migrants staged a one-day strike and boycott of schools and businesses across the US to demand reforms to help millions of illegal workers gain a legal status.

Many companies that rely on low-wage Hispanic labour had to close factories, while immigrant-owned stores across the country shut for the day.

Organisers of the Day Without Immigrants predicted millions of people would attend rallies in cities across the country.

They have called on supporters to stay away from work, keep children out of school and boycott stores to show their economic power and to back the mounting campaign for increased rights for the estimated 11.5 million undocumented workers.

But the strike call has divided the community and many immigrants said they feared for their jobs if they did stay away. US President George W Bush has spoken out against the boycott.

Major demonstrations gathered in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and other cities, especially across the southern US.

Hundreds of thousands gathered in Chicago's Union Park for what was expected to be one of the biggest rallies of the day.

Senator Barack Obama, a black Democrat who represents Illinois, spoke at the rally of the need to "lift people out of the shadows" and onto a path towards citizenship.

"To those who think we can simply close off the borders and deport, let me say this: there is no reason to fear people who have come here for the same reason as generations of Americans. They want a better future for their children," said Obama.

Food giants such as Tyson Food Inc and Cargill Foods said they had closed about 20 plants between them. Gallo Wines in California also said it was closing some operations.

All the companies rely heavily on low-cost immigrant labour. Other firms said they would switch to a Tuesday-Saturday work week to minimise the disruption.

The We Are America coalition -- which includes the Catholic church -- and some Hispanic politicians encouraged people to work normally and join demonstrations later in the day.

The campaign gathered momentum after the House of Representatives passed a bill in December proposing making illegal entry a crime.

There have been huge street protests in recent weeks by immigrants seeking a way to gain citizenship.

Since the controversy sparked by the House bill, the US Senate has struggled to agree on its version of new legislation. The ruling Republican party is particularly divided.

Bush favours a law which would set up a guest-worker status and open the way to citizenship but also step up border security. Party conservatives want a tougher line.

Bush has criticised the strike. "I'm not a supporter of boycotts. I'm a supporter of comprehensive immigration" reform, Bush said last week.

His spokesman, Scott McClellan, said immigration reform was a "difficult and emotional issue" and reaffirmed Bush's call to "reduce some of the charged rhetoric" that has come with the debate.

In a new sign of the tensions over immigration, Bush also criticised a newly released Spanish-language version of the US national anthem.

Bush urged immigrants to learn English so they can sing the original version of the song.




Posts: 2296
Joined: Mon May 12, 2003 9:12 pm

i love the massive irony,maybe they could stick to exploiting good clean american folk ?
i wonder how they manange to ignore and block out every reality?iam jealous ofthe ignorance of the vamp-president.
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