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Jobs with Justice is building a contingent for the Dallas "March for American Values and Immigration Reform." The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) called the march at a time when North Texas Latinos were already hitting the streets from all directions.
The March will start at Cathedral Guadalupe Church, 2215 Ross Av, and proceed through downtown Dallas to City Hall, 1500 Marilla. LULAC asks us to bring American flags and wear white for peace.
Getting There, Parking, and Getting Out
Organizers believe this will be the largest civil rights march in Dallas history; consequently, it may be especially difficult for those coming in cars. I propose we meet at noon at Thanksgiving Square on Pacific & Bryan, which is about halfway between the origin and ending of the march (the route is secret). Thanksgiving Square is a DART train stop, and there is a commercial parking lot one block north at 400 North St Paul Street. Look for the Jobs with Justice banner.
Click here for a map of the area:
It is approximately 1 mile from the Cathedral to City Hall. It may be wise to leave one's car at City Hall, but it may be very difficult to get out, once the crowd is there. From the Thanksgiving Square area, one should be able to drive out of downtown.
The Harris County (Houston) AFL-CIO sent out a statement saying, "Tragically, conservatives continue to push for misguided policies that serve only to punish the hard-working people our economy depends on while failing to protect even the most basic rights of immigrant workers and their families.
'Despite strong bipartisan support for a more balanced and comprehensive approach in the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has tried to block this effort by forcing his own proposal on to the floor. Like Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., he too, is pushing for a plan that will criminalize immigrant workers and further deepen the potential for abuse and exploitation while undermining wages and labor protections for all.
'To achieve comprehensive immigration reform, we have to give up the illusion that enforcement of immigration laws alone can fix our broken system.
'Effective reform must include three interdependent goals.
*First, our government must uniformly enforce laws on workplace standards.
All workers, including immigrants, should earn a minimum wage, have safe jobs
and receive fair treatment. When immigrant workers are treated poorly, workplace
standards are dragged down for all workers.
*Second, to achieve a blanket standard of workplace rights, we must reject guest worker programs. Because workers in these programs are always dependent on their host employers for both their livelihoods and legal status to work in the United States, guest workers are never truly free, rendering them ripe for exploitation. And too many employers - from the crab houses on Maryland's Eastern Shore to high-tech firms in our nation's cities - have abused these programs and stepped on workers' basic rights.
*Finally, reform proposals must provide a meaningful path to permanent residency for those undocumented workers already here, paying taxes and contributing to their communities.
Because undocumented immigrants are under constant threat of deportation, they cannot effectively assert their rights in the workplace. The jobs they work are often the most dangerous, employers often cheat them out of due wages, and when they try to speak up, their employers retaliate.
Look at job safety. It is shameful that among foreign-born workers, workplace fatality has increased by an alarming 46 percent between 1992 and 2002. Since 1992, fatalities among Hispanic workers have increased by 65 percent.
When immigrant workers try to correct these injustices by forming unions, they are cruelly harassed, intimidated, discriminated against and terminated for their actions. When all else fails to break a union drive, employers simply call in the immigration authorities and everyone gets deported for standing up for basic rights.
Criminalizing undocumented workers leaves them extremely vulnerable - easy prey for unscrupulous employers. That, in turn, drives down working standards for all of America's workers.
The last thing we need is a new law that criminalizes people and creates an undemocratic, two-tiered society. Our nation has had enough of that in our past.
We need an immigration policy that provides a real path to citizenship for those workers already here, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, and that helps meet the future need for workers in a fair way. We should recognize immigrant workers not as criminals but as full members of society - as permanent residents with full rights and full mobility that employers may not exploit."
LULAC is asking all North Texans to avoid spending any money on Monday, April 10, the national day of resistance to congressional proposals.
Representative Lon Burnam sends word that the Fort Worth march on April 9th begins at the Down Town Court House at 12:30 PM and goes to the Federal Court House Bldg. March organizers have requested that all participants wear white as a symbol of peace and unity. This will be a silent march.
Early voting started on Monday, April 3rd.
The Houston March assembles at 1 PM at Guadalupe Plaza (corner of Jensen & Navigation) and marches to Allen's Landing (Commerce and Main St.) From 3:00 -5:00 PM, Rally and Speeches from the April 10th Coalition
All groups are asking for volunteers to help provide a peaceful and lawful
Please contact North Texas Jobs with Justice if interested in helping with this important work. After Jobs with Justice made our decision and began petitioning for fairness, we learned that we had boarded a fast-moving train. The Dallas Area Interfaith, the leading umbrella organization of religious groups in North Texas, had already scheduled a press conference favoring fair legislation in Congress. Click here for an account. We joined that press conference with our own Jobs with Justice statement. The statements of religious leaders were inspiring, particularly that of Lutheran Bishop Kevin S. Kanouse. We set up a panel to investigate the facts about immigrant's working conditions. On April 1, we held our first hearing.
For updates about the situation in Congress, check the Catholic web site: http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
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