May Day begins ...


RALEIGH, N.C. -- About 1,000 mostly Hispanic people rallied for immigration reform in advance of an expected massive boycott of work, school and shopping aimed at demonstrating the importance of immigrants in the United States.

Demonstrations were planned in North Carolina and across the country Monday by thousands of illegal immigrants and their allies, a show of force to illustrate how much immigrants matter to the U.S. economy and its communities.


BIRMINGHAM -- Buoyed by recent demonstrations and a newfound sense of solidarity, many Hispanics in Alabama are planning to shut down their businesses, stay home from work and keep their children home from school today as part of a national immigration protest. [...]

An immigrant advocate in southeast Alabama, Rich Lopez, said many Hispanics were encouraged to take action by recent marches that brought out some 8,000 people in Albertville and Birmingham. He said a march is planned today in Dothan, and adults are being asked to bring their children rather than send them to public schools that day.

"We're going to march about a mile and a half to the courthouse," said Lopez.

Lopez said Latin American employees at a poultry plant in Union Springs are planning to hold a ceremony in a trailer park rather than work their regular shifts, and Wayne Farms LLC said it would idle two plants in Decatur and Albertville amid the demonstrations.


[The Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance], which had been focusing until recently on getting contractors to pay back wages to their immigrant workers, is officially calling for a work walk-out. MIRA also is organizing an immigration-reform march on May Day in Laurel - an area of the state where thousands of immigrants have long provided chicken factories and logging companies with cheap labor.


Many Latino restaurants across Central Florida also said they expect to be closed Monday, and some of the ferneries in northwest Volusia County have agreed to give fern cutters the day off.


LONGVIEW, TX -- Come Monday, most everyone [at a rally Sunday] plans on taking part in the "Day Without Immigrants." They won't shop, work or buy anything.

They hope to show the rest of country just how important immigrant labor and influence can be to our economy and society.

Monday's boycott will shut down one Ark-La-Tex plant that processes chickens. Plant managers for the House of Raeford Processing Plant in Arcadia, Louisiana say they're closing because the Arkansas warehouse where they send their chickens, won't be open. Nearly half of Raeford's 700-employees are hispanic.

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