Video by J.J. Hennessy
Video editing by Meghan Bobrowsky
It’s May 1, also known as International Workers Day, and in recent years a day when Americans mark the role of immigrants in American society and the workplace.
Across the U.S., demonstrators took to the streets today in Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York and San Francisco to call for more rights for labor, particularly immigrant workers who do not receive adequate pay, or health care and other benefits.
May Day this year has seen growing concerns over President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration, including a proposal to triple the size of Immigration and Customs Enforcement by hiring an additional 10,000 persons, and new directives issued in February that strengthen the ability of local law enforcement to seize and deport undocumented immigrants.
At York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, Latina student and DREAMers club member Christina Guerrero spoke about what leaving home means to her family and how they are responding to changes in immigration policy.
“You have to have a lot of courage to leave your country,” says Guerrero, “because you’re leaving everything behind — your customs, your family, your traditions, your language. And you’re stepping into this whole new world where everything’s absolutely different.”
York’s DREAMers club includes students protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Barack Obama and left intact by President Donald Trump.
“DREAM” refers to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a 2001 bill that Congress did not pass. Since that time there have been more than 21 attempts to pass the DREAM act since, though many of its provisions are included in DACA.
Guerrero is especially concerned about a climate of fear that has gripped many communities, with police in Los Angeles reporting fewer immigrants willing to come forward with complaints of domestic violence or abuse for fear that they themselves will be deported.
“My mother once told me, hate doesn’t destroy the one that inspires it, but the one that feels it,” Guerrero said.
This video is part of our ongoing “45for45” series of millennial messages to America’s 45th president. Click here to see the series.
—A group photo of York Community High School’s DREAMers club, which celebrates Spanish heritage and discusses U.S.-Mexico issues.