Tens of thousands of immigrants and their supporters in U.S. cities are set to protest Monday against immigration policies to mark May Day. The roots of May Day, or International Workers Day, stretch back over a century.
More than 200 people marched from the Arizona Capitol to the Madison Street Jail in Phoenix on Monday in observance of International Worker’s Day, also known as May Day.
A diverse crowd that included Latino, black and white marchers, along with representatives of the LGBTQ community, showed their support for immigrants during the march.
“I believe if there’s any man from anywhere in the world that wants to come to place to feed their family, give them the job and let them do it,” said Angelo Brown, 60, who has lived in the Phoenix area for four years.
Brown, who is black, said he felt a responsibility to support Latinos today, noting that some lent support to the Civil Rights movement during the 1960s.
The march was organized by LUCHA, an immigrant-advocacy group, and Puente Arizona, a migrant-justice organization.
Protesters spoke out on several issues, including opposition to President Donald Trump’s call for a border wall, a call for comprehensive immigration reform and criticism of Trump’s deportation orders. Marchers also criticized Tent City, which Sheriff Paul Penzone has said will be closed after operating for more than two decades under former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Among the marchers was Jose Canchola, 72, a Mexican immigrant who has legal status but is working on becoming a U.S. cittizen. His Social Security income does not meet his expenses, so he pushes a cart and sells fruit popsicles known as paletas.
“I’m here today to support the march and to let people know we are not happy with the wall he (President Trump) wants to build, because he’s going to spend a lot of money and it will be in vain,” Canchola said in Spanish.
“He should use that money to help those in need, the elderly and children,” Canchola added.
The crowd chanted in both Spanish and English, “The people united, will never be divided,” while holding signs and waving flags.
Phoenix resident Mary Parke, 58, came to show support for her husband, who is from El Salvador.
“Immigrants are usually the hardest workers,” Parke said.
Originally from Kansas, Parke came to the Valley in 1986 to work with refugees from El Salvador after many were forced to leave due to civil conflict.
“Here they have the opportunities that maybe they didn’t have before,” Parke said.
The march ended outside the Madison Street Jail, where protesters chanted and danced to Latin music.
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