Saying that President Biden and the Democratic Party need to start offering “papers” and stop offering “crumbs” when it comes to immigration reform, organizers from the Cosecha Movement said in a media release that over than 1,500 undocumented workers and families marched on May Day in Washington, D.C., to denounce promises to the immigrant community that they say have been broken.
The event was organized by Movimiento Cosecha in coordination with Justicia Migrante, Familias Unidas en Acción, Domésticas Unidas, Never Again Action, Colectivo Kawsay, Vecinos Unidos, Pueblo Sin Fronteras with support from the Poor People’s Campaign and A National Call for Moral Proposal.
Rallies were held in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building, the Washington Monument, and the White House.
This year’s May Day fell in the same week as Biden‘s hundredth day in office—a milestone immigrant-led groups have been using to pressure Democrats for immigration reform and a moratorium on deportations.@CosechaMovement marching from ICE’s D.C. offices to the Mall today: pic.twitter.com/yZlAkqw4o3
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) May 1, 2021
These rallies, organizers noted, “offered a strong rejection of the Democratic Party’s long history of broken promises on immigration reform—going back decades, and now including President Biden’s first 100 days in office.”
“Prior to his inauguration, Biden had pledged a moratorium on deportations and permanent protection for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. Now, in his first three months in office, he has deported over 300,000 people and switched his priority to a ‘piecemeal’ approach on immigration reform, which would exclude millions of undocumented immigrants,” a release about the rally said.
The Papers, Not Crumbs march is walking up 14th St! Hundreds of immigrant workers and families are here, after traveling for all over the country to mark the First 100 Days of the Biden administration—100 more days of empty promises. pic.twitter.com/4mWSqMO09g
— Movimiento Cosecha (@CosechaMovement) May 1, 2021
“Immigrants like me have been waiting for much longer than 100 days for protection, dignity, and respect in the country where we have lived and worked for decades,” said Gema Lowe, an immigrant organizer with Movimiento Cosecha. “Time and time again, Democrats have promised to protect us, but turned around and joined Republicans to expand the detention and deportation machine, terrorizing our communities and separating our families. That is what happened when Obama was president and we won’t let it happen again. President Biden and the Democratic Party want to convince us that our only option is to fight amongst each other over crumbs—‘good’ vs. ‘bad’, ‘Dreamers’ vs. parents, ‘essential’ vs. ‘inessential’. But today, immigrant workers and families are refusing to accept the same old excuses and false choices. We are united in demanding the dignity and protection we deserve for all of us—all 11 million.”
The march lasted for several hours, with many participants carrying flags and banners reading “Papeles sí, migajas no” and “Papers, Not Crumbs.” The march also featured a puppet of President Biden wearing a “Deporter in Chief” sash, referencing the title immigration groups gave to Obama, who infamously deported 3 million people while in office.
“President Biden and the Democrats are now pushing piecemeal legislation such as the Dream and Promise Act. I would qualify under this bill, but it would exclude and criminalize my loved ones and community members, and I don’t accept that. We deserve much more than a few crumbs of protection at the expense of detention and deportation for millions of other immigrants. We need permanent protection for all,” Hector Morales, a Cosecha organizer from Indiana and a DACA recipient, said.
Speakers during the rally included Enrique Balcazar from Migrant Justice, a group from Vermont.
“I am here today because we cannot trust promises from politicians,” he said. “As a community, we need to take action to force them to recognize our humanity and win the protections we deserve.”
Moses Hernandez McGavin, from Vecinos Unidos in Wisconsin, said, “I am marching across the country and in my own home state politicians repeatedly promise the people prosperity, power, and change, but over and over again people are met only with crumbs. Cosecha is shifting the narrative in this historic march to demand more than just crumbs.”