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National immigrant rights summit unites on demand: Legalization for all!

By staff

Carlos Montes speaking at immigration summit.

Riverside, CA – On March 16, over 300 people, mostly Chicanos and Latinos, came to the University of California-Riverside for the Alliance for Immigration Reform National Leadership Summit. A similar conference was held in Feb. 2006 at the Riverside Convention Center, which made the original call for mass marches against the criminalization of immigrants on March 10 and 25 of 2006.

After a day of panels and discussion the cry was loud and clear: “Legalization for all; no to more ICE enforcement/repression; and rejection of the current Obama/U.S. Senate proposals.” There was also a united call for a national day of actions on April 10 and mass marches on May 1 in all major cities.

The leadership summit was attended by a number of well-known Chicano/a movement activists like Nita Gonzalez, daughter of Corky Gonzales; Dr. Rudy Acuna, scholar, activist, and author of Occupied America; Maryann Gonzalez, Chicana activist; Maria Elena Durazo, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Secretary Treasurer; former California State Senator Gil Cedillo; Isabel Gonzales, of Tucson Arizona; Dr. Armando Navarro, Chicano scholar and writer; veteran Chicano activist Carlos Montes; and Eliseo Medina, Executive VP of SEIU International. Also in attendance were students from the MECHAs of U.C. Riverside and U.C. Los Angeles, and many more.

The panel discussion included elected officials from many levels. One California assembly member called for the passage of a California Divers License bill as the crowd applauded. The Los Angeles Centro CSO circulated a petition directed to California Governor Jerry Brown calling for Drivers Licenses for undocumented people – everyone signed.

Another panel included well-known scholars and professors who pointed out the long fight for immigrant rights and the history of anti-migrant laws in the U.S. In an afternoon panel, Carlos Montes connected the fight for immigrant rights to the struggle for equality and self-determination for the Chicano/Mexicano people. He also denounced U.S. imperialism and U.S. NAFTA-type contracts as the cause of misery and mass displacement of people in the Third World. Montes also denounced the FBI as the main advocate of the ICE/police collaboration repressive program called SCOMM [Secure Communities].

The afternoon panel included grassroots activist groups and non-profit groups. They called for an end to the repression of deportations, detentions and deaths on the border. The panelists also united on rejecting the current Obama/U.S. Senate proposals which set up barriers and long waits for legalization, increased border and workplace repression, and expanded guest worker programs. The united demand was, “Legalization for all!” The Legalization for All National Network statement was circulated among the activists at the conference.

For more information:

Participants in the Participants in the Alliance for Immigration Reform National

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