US braces for ‘Day Without Immigrants’


LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The United States was braced for a “Day Without
Immigrants,” a nationwide strike and business boycott organized by
illegal immigrants and their supporters in a bid to push through
immigration reform that would legalize the presence of an estimated 12
million undocumented workers in the country.

Many Hispanic groups urged their members to forgo work, school and
shopping on Monday to demonstrate illegal immigrants’ economic and
political power.

“We have to make our presence felt through our absence,” organizers
from the nation’s most influential Hispanic groups said Friday at their
final press conference before the mass boycott.

But Republican Representative Tom Tancredo, chairman of the House
Immigration Reform Caucus, said that a day without illegal aliens would
be “a boon to the American taxpayer,” who wouldnt pay for the
tremendous social service costs of persons living in the country

He said the net cost to the federal government of public services
provided to illegal aliens in 2005 was estimated to be 11.7 billion
dollars, or 3,080 dollars per each American household.

Monday is a normal work day in the United States, where Labor Day is
celebrated in September instead of May 1. However, it might look more
like a May Day abroad, complete with demonstrations called by labor
unions and workers’ rights advocates.

The demonstration was planned by a network representing some 40 million Hispanics.

“We’ve unequivocally called on all families to participate in the Great
American Boycott and the marches — and that translates into not going
to work, not going to school, not shopping and not selling,” Nativo
Lopez, president of the Mexican-American Political Association, said.

However, city and school officials and the “We Are America” coalition,
which includes the Roman Catholic Church, are encouraging people to go
to school and work and then join the demonstrations later in the day.

The division over the way the protests should be carried out is as evident among political leaders as it is among unions.

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