Farmworkers march for better immigration

March 30, 2008 7:18:29 PM PDT
About 2000 people marched in Santa Rosa today to celebrate the life and legacy of labor leader Cesar Chavez. This year, the United Farm Worker's theme is immigration reform. They're working to make Sonoma County a sanctuary county for illegal immigrants.

"Yes we can" has been the cry of the United Farm Workers Union for more than 40 years. On, Sunday, on the eve of Cesar Chavez's 81st birthday, the theme of this years UFW march is immigration reform.

"If Cesar was alive today he'd be out marching for immigration reform," says Roberto Garcia of the Sonoma County UFW.

Garcia says the UFW wants amnesty for illegal immigrants and an end to ICE, or Immigration Control and Enforcement raids. Much of today's festive crowd is made up of farm workers and their children. Winery worker Rosa Rubio says all she wants is to work.

"We are here because we want to live well. We don't want trouble," says Rubio.

Jorge Deharo wants an end to raids that leave children without their parents.

"We need to stop the police from stopping cars and taking away parents leaving children alone on the streetsm" says Deharo.

Close to 2,000 people took part in Sunday's march .They gathered in downtown Santa Rosa to commemorate the work that Cesar Chavez did for farm workers and their families from starting the UFW in 1962 up until his death in 1993.

The UFW says they would like Sonoma County to become a sanctuary county. Because agricultural workers, legal and illegal, are so important to the economy of the county some legislators are starting to look at the issue.

"There is a nescient move just beginning to look at it. We're looking at different models. We know that San Francisco has done it. We want something we know is going to work and be effective," says Santa Rosa City Council member Michael Allen.

Orlean Keohle of Eagle Forum, an immigration watchdog group, says illegal immigrant means the person is breaking the law and should be treated that way.

"Granted these people are trying to find some existence for their lives, but if we can get laws that are enforced, they would be able to have the ability to come here legally," says Keohle.

The UFW is also trying to make Cesar Chavez's birthday a national holiday.


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