If enacted, Republican-sponsored House Bill 4437 would make undocumented immigrants and all those who help them criminals. In response to this draconian piece of potential legislation, immigrant activists declared May 1st, (International Workers' Day) as the day to demonstrate "A Day Without Immigrants." On this day, no work would be performed, no classes attended, no purchases made. There would be no immigrant input into the economy.

Demonstrations occurred throughout the country and internationally as well. Nearly two million people participated nationally, with many businesses closing in recognition of this day of protest.

The Central Labor Council and immigrant rights groups organized Sacramento's march and rally.

  The march as it approached the Capitol covered the four traffic lanes of Capital Avenue and the grassy divide between. The high-spirited crowd was estimated at between 15,000 and 40,000, depending on the source. Whatever the count, it was the largest protest march in memory.

  It appeared that most family groups brought food, as there would be no shopping on "A Day Without Immigrants."


The crowd left the West Steps of the Capitol, and marched through the encircling streets. Drums, whistles, and shouted chants voiced unity and a determination to achieve a reformed and fair U.S. Immigration policy.

  "Today we march for justice! Today we march for human rights! Today we march for dignity! We are a nation of immigrants!" Dave Jones, California Assemblymember, District 9.

  The "Day Without Immigrants" occured as a reaction to HR4437, but also as a push for immigration reform. Expanding the number of work visas, and establishing a protocol for illegal immigrants working in the U.S. to become citizens are goals.

  "Power concedes nothing without demands. Today we demand!" Larry Carr, Ward 6 Director on the SMUD Board, is currently a candidate for Sacramento County Supervisor.

  SEIU UHW organizer Walter Ramazini, one of many union activists present on the "Day Without Immigrants." SEIU UHW has classes to aide immigrant workers in becoming citizens.
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