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Rosemary Flores, organizer and activist

Marco Rauda, associate, Ramirez Group

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Today, when thousands march on May Day in support of undocumented workers, they’re building on the history of the highly-attended 2006 May Day protests. Inspired by proposed legislation that would have drastically increased penalties for undocumented immigrants, those demonstrations drew thousands of workers to major cities, most notably 300,000 to Chicago.

“There was a lot of fear inside of the Latino community. Not only that, seeing people picked up Gestapo style at the work sites,” says Marco Rauda, a political consultant with the Ramirez Group. “People were just a little tired of it. They were a little scared of what was going to happen to their relatives, they were a little scared of what was going to happen to their friends. So they decided to take action.”  

Among the issues affecting undocumented workers in the U.S. today, according to activist Rosemary Flores, is the need for driving privilege cards. She says her car was once hit by a Chinese immigrant who was unlicensed and uninsured.

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“It’s a safety issue,” says Flores. “They should have access to insurance and at least a privilege card.”

Flores says legislation that is friendly to immigrants is ultimately beneficial to everyone.

This not only affects our future, but our economy,” says Flores. “They’re here to pay taxes, they’re here to work.”