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Manchester May Day Message: Immigrants "Here to Stay"

Advocates will be out in force in Manchester Monday to stand up for the rights of immigrants and immigrant workers. (A. Alpert/AFSC)
Advocates will be out in force in Manchester Monday to stand up for the rights of immigrants and immigrant workers. (A. Alpert/AFSC)
May 1, 2017

MANCHESTER, N.H. – It's forecast to be the largest mobilization of immigrants since the presidential election, as hundreds of thousands are expected to stage May Day rallies Monday in Manchester and across the nation.

Eva Castillo, executive director of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants, is an organizer for the Rally for Immigrant Justice in Manchester. She says in New England and across the nation, labor and immigrant rights groups are taking a stand against the Trump administration's policies to ramp up deportation.

"Enforcement is not the answer,” she stresses. “We have turned a blind eye to the undocumented workforce. For decades, we have allowed them to work, set roots here, have their children here – and now, we're going to start kicking them out?"

Last week, the Republican Party leadership in Congress determined there were not enough votes to support funding for a border wall in current budget negotiations.

At a rally Saturday to mark his first 100 days in office, President Donald Trump told supporters, "We'll build the wall, people, don't even worry about it."

Castillo says she is relieved that wall funding was rejected but concerned lawmakers appear ready to compromise on more money for additional ICE agents and border security.

While May Day traditionally shines a spotlight on workers, Roxanne Rivera, vice president of Service Employees Union 32BJ, says the Here to Stay rally in Boston will focus on the key role immigrant workers play in the U.S. labor movement.

"The respect for immigrants and respect for immigrant workers is at the core of who we are, and is really at the core of what May Day was all about,” she states. “It was an immigrant worker that came forth and established the eight-hour day."


The Rally for Immigrant Justice gets started Monday at 5 p.m. at Veterans Park in downtown Manchester.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH