Hundreds protest U.S. immigration policy in southwest Detroit
By COREY WILLIAMS
Associated Press Writer
DETROIT, May 1, 2007 (AP): Bertha Vázquez kept her 11-year-old daughter from school and vowed not to shop Tuesday in protest of what she sees is an unfair U.S. immigration policy.
She and her family joined hundreds of people, most of Latino heritage, who marched through Detroit's southwest side to call attention to the raids and deportations of undocumented workers. Southwest Detroit has a large Latino population.
The protest was part of national demonstrations pushing for a path to citizenship for an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants. Organizers hope the marches will spur the U.S. Congress to act before the 2008 presidential campaign dominates the political landscape.
A million people took part in a similar nationwide boycott on May 1, 2006.
``I want to help the children whose parents have been taken back to México,” Vázquez, 42, of Detroit, said while waving an U.S.-American flag along the march route. ``I also want (immigration officials) to stop going to houses and arresting good people.''
Like Vázquez, many of the protesters waved U.S.-American or Mexican flags, and wore red and white in a show of solidarity.
“We want to raise the level of awareness to the U.S. Congress that deportation must stop until a comprehensive law is in place,'' said Rosendo Delgado of Latinos United, one of the groups organizing the march.
“Most of the undocumented people come here as a necessity of survival,'' Delgado said. ``For them, it's the only choice. All these people want to do is earn a living and feed their families.''
Manuel González, 35, of Detroit said he hoped the marches, meetings and voter registration drives held Tuesday from California to New York would allow the voices of undocumented workers to be heard.
“They need the same opportunities and are asking for the same rights to work and live in this country,'' he said. ``And they're very proud to be in America.''
Lola DeSuttles, 57, said deportation efforts seem to target only people of Spanish descent.
``We work every day. We're not in welfare lines,'' said DeSuttles, who owns a Detroit restaurant. ``We support this country.''
Some businesses in the southwest section of Detroit, near Clark Park and the Ambassador Bridge to Canada, supported the immigration reform support efforts of the march but complained of what they believed to be the overemphasis of socialism at the march/rally.
May 1st is also known as May Day or International Workers’ Day, when various socialist and labor movement celebrations are conducted on May 1, to commemorate the Haymarket martyrs of 1886 and the international socialist movement.
Rico ce La Prensa contributed to this report.