May Day Immigration Rally Draws Thousands (and Opponents) in Houston

Categories: Immigration

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Photos by Christopher Patronella, Jr.
​Some three thousand people joined together in Houston on Sunday to take part in May Day rallies held all across the nation as the battle over immigration laws has taken center stage.

Demonstrators blanketed the streets around Burnett Bayland Park as they flowed together in a united sea of workers, students and immigrants, legal and illegal, merging chants for workers' rights and immigration reform.

"We are the DREAMers, the mighty mighty DREAMers, fighting for justice and an education," chanted demonstrators led by the Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle (FIEL) organization in Houston. "Up, Up with education, down, down with deportation!"

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FIEL fights for the rights of families to stay together and for the DREAM Act, FIEL member Thailandia Alaffita told Hair Balls.

"This is something that we've been doing every year since 2006, after H.R. 4437 first came about," Alaffita said. "When the largest number of Hispanics first came out and mass mobilized as a means of showing the community, and the country, that we're here and we're here to stay."

H.R. 4437, or the Illegal Immigration Control Act, would have criminalized undocumented immigrants. After it was passed in the House, the bill was halted in the Senate following the nationwide protests in 2006 which gained the attention of Congress and of the nation.

"I'm a DREAMer so I'm here to support the DREAM Act," Alaffita said, who is also a student at Texas A&M. "I'm graduating in the next two weeks and I'm not going to be able to work. I'm a teacher but I can't work, and like me, there are thousands of students in the same position."

The DREAMers are advocates of the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would allow for undocumented students who graduate from college and those who are in the military legal and permanent residence in the U.S. to work and begin their path towards citizenship.

Alaffita, 23, has been in the United States for 14 years, attending middle school, high school and college in the state of Texas.

"We worry about getting deported everyday, but it doesn't stop us from living our lives, Alaffita said. "We're Americans, we want to fulfill all of the American dreams and all of the American values -- that's why we're going to school and why we're graduating, and now we just want to work and to contribute."

Houston United, a local community activism group, led the organization of the rally.

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28 comments
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BobUSMC
BobUSMC

The USA doesn't owe illegal alien law breakers from backward Third World countries anything.

JaimeQ
JaimeQ

...they're the last ones to say that we do owe them....they work much harder than most, most marines even

BobUSMC
BobUSMC

Marines observe the Rule of Law, but don't do toilets, roll tortillas, or recklessly and irresponsibly spawn children that they can't support and expect honest, bona fide U.S. citizens (i.e., taxpayers) to foot the cost of their education, indigent medical care, feeding and inevitable incarceration - once they drop out of the 5th grade.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Shit son, racist much? Backwards thinking asshole wannabe tough guy on the internet.

Justsayin
Justsayin

Do they ever gather to protest in front the Mexican embassy Mexico's OWN policy of deporting (or "sending them back") illegal immigrants?

Kimber23
Kimber23

Or....Have these noble Patriots protest in front of the corporations that cut labor costs by going to the cheaper markets overseas.

Have them protest in front of corporations that dodge taxes by incorporating offshore. Taxes that could be used to employ our natives.

I would love to see that kind of activism.

Lenny
Lenny

"As the fellas at the KKK assert" ? Don't you have any other reply to Steve or Miquel except to play the "race card" . That usually means you have no valid argument.

Your assertion that illegal immigration is a net wash with no leaching off the host would mean alot more if there were not close to 10% unemployment of legal citizens with substantially larger "under employment" .

As far as studies go, they show illegal immigation costs the taxpayer well in excess of 100 billion per year, with most of that concentrated in border states.

Jelson23
Jelson23

Lenny,

10% unemployment is indeed a problem, I more than grant you that. Are you saying that it's caused or aggravated by illegal aliens?

Then what jobs are they taking? Educators? Manufacturing workers? Construction? Sales reps? Advertising professionals? Engineers? Secretaries? What sector exactly are they damaging?

No, unemployment is due to lack of demand, overcapacity and high inventories. And budget cuts. We need more stimulus, not more austerity. Yet the austerity myth seems to be winning, even in the face of evidence that it does nothing to bond rates and our capacity to borrow. Although debt is a problem to address, once employment is stabilized.

The studies you cite are counter-balanced by those showing that illegal immigration provide as much in taxes, labor cost savings, profits, stock-market valuations and the rest. It's pretty much a wash. Really.

Steve
Steve

Jelson23, You ask what jobs! let us sart with your own list; TEACHERS- because the illegals won't speak English at home and pop out kids like candy machines, our schools have to have Bi- lingual teachers, often these teachers are not as well trained as educators and come from other countries. the budget is stretched so a district hires fewer American teachers so they can pay for the bi-lingual teacher. MANUFACTURING- are you really that un-informed, why do you think the ICE raids produce such large numbers when they go to manufacturing facilities. CONSTRUCTION- I hold four Texas State trade licenses, so I get a lot contact on construction sites. I have been on jobs that had 10 workers and only one spokes English. Also the Anchor Babies are now in the market place (They would not be here if not for the illegal acts of their parents) ......... It is not a demand for labor that makes them valuable, its the fact that they UNDERCUT the WAGES of American workers. People on your side talk all this crap about being 'For the workers' and about being organized (Unions) yet the illegals come in and undercut the wages of those workers. I have found that folks that take your stand are either some stupid feather head with no actual skill, trade or profession, that listen to thew second group, that is those who profit greatly off these low ball wages and use people in the first group to get their message out. Both of you in turn just help the so called 'socialiist' drag our country down. You talk about going after big corporations, well for one, the American worker fought to bring wages and conditions up, now these 'Invaders'.come and undercut. Unless you can come to this dicussion with facts why don't you go get your Lone Star Card and buy some self gratifiction.

Clairvoyage
Clairvoyage

Steve writes: "You talk about going after big corporations, well for one, the American worker fought to bring wages and conditions up, now these 'Invaders'.come and undercut."

Yeah, right, Steve. Now the demise of unions can also be attributed to illegal workers. Give me a break! Yes, unions were a positive force for the middle class worker. They reason they've been dying is that corporations in tandem with Republican administrations since Reagan have been enacting laws to weaken them. Just look at the past few months, starting in Madison.

FidelioW
FidelioW

Wage competition in the marketplace. Doesn't sound like socialism to me.

Wouldn't that be more like unionizing or wage/price controls?

Emmamontagne
Emmamontagne

Steve---

The point is: it's a net wash. Anyone can bring up some negs of immigration.

Liz Theiss
Liz Theiss

Most comments here are RIGHTLY noting the incredible expense of providing convenient ,ready cheap labor for the cheap labor lobby while teenagers are sitting on their A**es doing nothing, being indoctrinated on MULTICULTURAL,DIVERSITY,COMMUNIST PROPAGANDA. Yet we haven't even gotten to the "turning on the host" feature that has left Europeans without a nation. WAKE UP AMERICA...IT'S A TAKEOVER!!!!!

Wyatt
Wyatt

Whoa, communism? That's pretty retro. You're hip.

Thenonymous
Thenonymous

Yeah... it's all that darned "multi-culturalism" that's "killing" America.

*cough*

(Oh, I'm sorry. Was that bad form? Should I have CAPITALIZED some random words that SENTENCE in an ATTEMPT to falsely INFLATE its TRUTH or RELEVANCE? I realize that I am woefully short on EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!! and for this, I APOLOGIZE!!!!!!!!!)

Meaganracy1
Meaganracy1

Liz, baby, then wake up your sleeping teenagers. Get them off their asses. Or here, you needn't make that much effort. Have them click here, while laying in bed: http://houston.backpage.com/em...

There are plenty of jobs. And I doubt they are all being stolen by your non-european boogeymen.

Do your part: Push them to get a low-paying, dead-end job, and stop the blame game.

Miguel Lopez
Miguel Lopez

Illegal immigration is just that, illegal. When a recent investigation shows 70% of Texas illegals getting welfare from the state the cheap labor all of a sudden isn't cheap. Add in teaching their kids in Spanish, higher levels of crime, subsidized lunches, higher levels of incarceration it is clear we are slowly being turned into a third world country. The Democrats cheer on these people for new votes and a dependent class while the Republicans want cheap labor. Of course, the burden is pushed to the general population. A country that cannot enforce its boarders will not remain a country for long.

Jelson23
Jelson23

nah, borders are just a human construct. the real thing is supply of labor and demand for it. as long as there is strong demand, nothing is going to stop the immigration; and probably shouldn't. the studies have shown that illegal immigration is a net wash; there's no leaching off of the host society as the fellas at KKK would assert

Guest
Guest

Shouldn't all the racist pigs be over at Hefley's ogling Michael Berry's mom jeans?

Steve
Steve

Sir, Your comment is exactly what I would expect from someone who doesn't have a valid arguement. Is it alway a racist thing for you? Hello, Spanish comes from the connection with Spain, whose population is over 75% caucasion, it's a European country and is no different racially than the rest of Europe. Further, most of those there protesting against Illegall Immigration, fall into the one or more of the following situations; they have an Spanish ancestry or name, they spouses or other immediate family have a Spanish ancestry or partial ancestry and last but not least have close friends, who have. I guess you failed to read the article, two of those interveiwed had obvious Spanish names. Before you run at the mouth, you need to have facts, then we can have a debate. I noticed the 'Marchers' had a lot of Bused in young folks. What is Local 123.org another Communist group?

Katy
Katy

Hey, Steve… Not 100% certain of the relevance of your Mexico/Spain comments, but upon reading your comment, a couple things come to mind:

1. You should a read a book about the history of Spain. I think you’d be surprised to learn that your generalizations here are largely incorrect, and the ethnic makeup of Spain is indeed different from the rest of Europe.

Spain holds the distinction of having been held by Muslims – specifically, the Moors – way longer than anywhere else in Western Europe. Moreover, the Muslims REALLY had a huge effect on the country and were not marginalized until the 15th century.

Much if not MOST of the architecture, art, and music we associate with Spain is actually Moorish. In addition, there is a fairly sizable portion of the population that is actually darker-skinned than your average European (or even Latino) because of the Moorish blood.

2. I hate to be a grammar Nazi, but you might want to consider proofreading or running your comments through spellcheck. I find that it undermines the effectiveness of an argument when I have to guess what a person is trying to say…

Guest
Guest

I'll ignore the fact that you have now TWICE countered your own initial argument and ignored my acknowledgement of the social construct quality of race.

However, I'm glad you brought up the immigration policies of Mexico and Guatemala, because I've been wanting to ask someone about that for a long time: Mexico is a failed state. Its government is unable to perform even the simplest of public tasks (outside of the tourist areas, at least).

It is a nation run by semi-organized crime syndicates.

The United States, on the other hand, has its problems but is infinitely better in its general policies, rights, laws, and duties than is Mexico. This is part of why so many people wish to leave Mexico and come here.

And yet I am OFTEN told about Mexico's immigration laws by folks who otherwise are not big fans of anything about our neighbor to the south.

Why would/should I care what the immigration policies of Mexico are? Is the implication that we as a nation ought to try and adopt Mexico-like laws and policies? Is it that people trying to escape Mexico are somehow to be tied to the failed government policies of their own nation?

It's an honest question because I don't know why the immigration policies of a failed gangster state are relevant here.

Katy
Katy

I'll ignore the fact that you have now TWICE countered your own initial argument and ignored my acknowledgement of the social construct quality of race.

However, I'm glad you brought up the immigration policies of Mexico and Guatemala, because I've been wanting to ask someone about that for a long time: Mexico is a failed state. Its government is unable to perform even the simplest of public tasks (outside of the tourist areas, at least).

It is a nation run by semi-organized crime syndicates.

The United States, on the other hand, has its problems but is infinitely better in its general policies, rights, laws, and duties than is Mexico. This is part of why so many people wish to leave Mexico and come here.

And yet I am OFTEN told about Mexico's immigration laws by folks who otherwise are not big fans of anything about our neighbor to the south.

Why would/should I care what the immigration policies of Mexico are? Is the implication that we as a nation ought to try and adopt Mexico-like laws and policies? Is it that people trying to escape Mexico are somehow to be tied to the failed government policies of their own nation?

It's an honest question because I don't know why the immigration policies of a failed gangster state are relevant here.

Steve
Steve

Katy, First, first if you research, just a little, you will find that "Caucasion' has very little to do with the color of skin. The color range is very wide across the spectrum, as it is with all four Races. Race seems to be a social construct used by some because they have no facts. Yes, you are right the so called Latino/hispanic designation is being used as a quasi ethnic issue. The issue is not about anything except illegally invading America and on top of that demanding rights and privileges when you get here. Have you ever read the Immigration Laws of Mexico, Guatamala etc? You still have made no points to the issue.

Katy
Katy

This is a good point.

However, I think the remarks you made here ought to go debate the remarks you made two comments up, because they don’t seem to agree at all. If you’re going to acknowledge race as a social construct – which it is, although most no longer even consider “Hispanic/Latino” as a race, but rather “ethnicity” – then your prior remarks about white Spaniards makes even LESS sense.

So either you are just permanently disagreeable or else someone else is sneaking in and altering your comments when you are not looking. I suspect it’s the former, and I do hope your anonymous online passive aggressive comments save your cat or kids a couple kicks…

Have a great Tuesday…

Steve
Steve

Katy, As usual if it is not about Racism , it is about something else 'off topic'. You need to read scientific material on biological makeup as regards race. I suspect you are student and have not yet spread your wings to learn on your own but rather still having your head filled with some Liberal educators veiw of the world. Thanks, for the spell check advice, that is so important to know.

H_e_x
H_e_x

I love satire.

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