Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Vibrant Campus

Eastern Washington University students took to downtown Spokane Tuesday for a rally on immigrant rights. It's great to have students who are engaged in cultural and societal issues.
This article from the morning Spokesman.

Students rally for immigrant rights
Kevin GramanStaff writerMay 2, 2007

About 30 Latino students and their supporters demonstrated in downtown Spokane on Tuesday afternoon in support of immigration reform on the anniversary of massive demonstrations across the country last year.
This year, however, the nationwide rallies, which coincided with International Workers’ Day, paled in comparison to last year’s strident protests against legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.
In Spokane, students from Eastern Washington University and Spokane Community College marched from Riverfront Park to the Thomas Foley Federal Building, calling for legislation to support the children of undocumented workers.
Leyby Ramirez said she had no say in coming to the United States from her native Mexico when she was 5 years old, “but now I have to make the best of it.”
Now 19, the SCC student said she is trying to educate herself so that her children would not have to go through what she is going through.
Unable to obtain a scholarship without a Social Security number, Ramirez said she depends on the help of her father, who brought her to the United States.
Mexica Lou, a member of the Chicano student organization MEChA, said current legislation in Congress is designed to benefit business with cheap labor while exploiting “guest workers” much like the bracero program did in the 1940s.
The Strive Act, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., doubles the number of employment visas from 140,000 to 290,000 annually and puts undocumented agricultural workers on the path to permanent residency.
However, Gilberto Garcia, a professor in the EWU Chicano studies program, said the bill penalizes those undocumented workers who have been crucial to the U.S. economy, forcing them to return to Mexico and apply for re-entry and pay fines and fees.
Nationwide, immigration protesters showed up Tuesday in far fewer numbers than last year. About 150,000 marched in Chicago’s demonstration, the nation’s largest, compared to about 500,000 last year, according to wire reports.
In Los Angeles, where several hundred thousand marched in 2006, only about 25,000 appeared this year. Organizers predicted the low numbers, citing fear of immigration raids and frustration over lack of action on immigration in Congress.
Washington state’s interim director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said his organization and others have shifted priorities to work within the system to achieve responsible immigration reform.
“We need to involve everyone in the community,” said Ricardo Rico, “so that we all recognize the effects of immigration on our economy and how it touches all our lives.”

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