Immigration | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 5:30 PM

Young Pittsburgh immigrants and Dreamers march in a protest in February - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Young Pittsburgh immigrants and Dreamers march in a protest in February
President Donald Trump has already rolled back several Obama-era rules in his short term, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program seems to be next on the chopping block. Several large media organizations have reported Trump will likely end the program that provides work visas and safety from deportation to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as young children. Several Republican lawmakers have been requesting it for years. In fact, 10 Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to Trump requesting that he rescind DACA by Sept. 5, or they will challenge the order in court. (It should be noted that 20 Democrats and state attorneys general, including Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro, signed a letter to Trump in support of maintaining DACA.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 5:28 PM

From 2010 to 2016, the Pittsburgh metro area saw a negative net migration of about 12,000 native-born residents. This means that about 12,000 more American-born people left the region than arrived here over those six years. In this same time span, the region saw a positive international migration of more than 22,000 people. The region still saw a lot more deaths than births and lost overall population, but in short, immigrants have been propping up the Pittsburgh metro area population.

But on Aug. 2, President Donald Trump held a press conference where he gave support to the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, which seeks to cut legal immigration up to 50 percent and give priorities to English-speaking immigrants, among other reforms. The bill was introduced by co-sponsors U.S. senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and David Perdue (R-Georgia).

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills), whose district encompasses Pittsburgh, McKeesport and New Kensington, says this bill goes against what Pittsburgh and the region are trying to accomplish. He says he wants people to move here, regardless of what country they were born in.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 12:34 PM

click to enlarge Josh Shapiro
Josh Shapiro
Since President Donald Trump took office, immigration enforcement has dramatically changed, especially the work of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. In January, Trump changed President Barack Obama’s priorities on immigration enforcement (which targeted serious criminals and repeat offenders), so that immigrants can now be detained merely for being arrested for committing a criminal offense (like disorderly conduct), even if they are not charged or sentenced.

As a result, detainment of immigrants is up nationally and undocumented immigrants across the country, including those in Pittsburgh, are terrified that their families will be separated. A recent New Yorker article even highlights one longtime ICE officer who struggles to cope with the escalated enforcement. Additionally, illegal border crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017 are down significantly compared to the same time period as last year (although this could be part of a eight-year decline). ICE also tweeted out in March, “DACA is not a protected legal status, but active DACA recipients are typically a lower level of enforcement priority.” (DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an Obama executive action that protects undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and provides them access to work permits.)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Friday, July 7, 2017

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 5:08 PM

PNC Park
PNC Park
Pittsburgh has the smallest percentage of foreign-born residents of large metro areas in the U.S., so when immigrants and refugees arrive here, it can be an isolating experience. Sloane Davidson knew this. So, in March, she started a mentorship program linking foreign-born residents with native Pittsburghers as a way to combat xenophobia and improve the lives of the area's refugees and immigrants.

So far the program, called Hello Neighbor, is off to a fast start with 25 refugee families paired with 25 native Pittsburgh families. Davidson says the families have spent more than 450 cumulative hours together since June, including 120 interactions. "It's pretty remarkable," says Davidson. The families have held an event at a park in Brookline and even went to visit The Andy Warhol Museum together.

And now the Pittsburgh Pirates are getting in on the action. On Aug. 1, the Pirates are hosting a Hello Neighbor night as a way to raise awareness for supporting immigrants and refugees. Discounted tickets are offered, and before the game, there will be a hang-out at Picnic Park, which is beyond the bleachers in centerfield.

The hang-out is open to the public, and Davidson encourages people to attend so they can meet and interact with their international neighbors. Davidson says the families (totaling 183 individuals) hail from six different countries, including Iraq, Syria, Burma and Somalia.

"These events are a great way to bring new people and like-minded people to the park," says Davidson. She adds that even though a few in Pittsburgh have not always been the most welcoming to international residents, the Hello Neighbor program has been acceptable by all.

“I know there are lot of different opinions about how open Pittsburgh can be,” says Davidson. “But we have felt nothing but warmth and acceptance.”

To purchase discounted tickets for the Hello Neighbor night at PNC Park, visit the Pirates website and enter the code NEIGHBOR. Discounted tickets in the infield grandstand are $20, and include a Pirates cap. Davidson adds that there is also a public potluck in Riverview Park on Sat., July 8, that will have music, entertainment for kids, and relay races marshaled by a Pittsburgh Pirate Pierogi mascot.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 4:48 PM

Latin American folk-dance group Latina Productions at Beechview’s Cinco de Mayo festival in 2016 - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
Latin American folk-dance group Latina Productions at Beechview’s Cinco de Mayo festival in 2016
Without an influx of international migration to the Pittsburgh metro area, the region would have lost 36,580 residents since 2010. This would have been far and away the largest population decline of any large U.S. metro area over that time span. Luckily, enough people came across borders to the Steel City, drastically cutting into the figure, and stemming some the region’s population decline. (The Pittsburgh region has still lost 14,000 residents since 2010, the second most of major metro areas, behind Cleveland.)

According to U.S. Census figures, from 2010 to 2016, the Pittsburgh area gained 22,588 residents from international migration, which is defined as migration by the foreign-born, Puerto Ricans and native-born Americans living overseas.

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Posted By on Tue, May 2, 2017 at 2:07 PM

click to enlarge Immigrant-rights protesters in front of the ICE office in the South Side - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Immigrant-rights protesters in front of the ICE office in the South Side
On May 1, 2016, about 100 marchers took to the streets of Beechview to support immigrant rights. One of those marchers was Martín Esquivel-Hernandez, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents the next day and has since been deported , even though he had no local criminal record; he received public support from politicians, activists and religious leaders.

One year later, immigrant-rights groups took to the streets again and their numbers more than tripled, with more than 300 protesters in the South Side in the pouring rain. The group even video-chatted with Esquivel-Hernandez from Mexico and he told the group to keep fighting for immigrant protections in Pittsburgh.

“I want to encourage people of all races and nationalities to unite in this fight,” said Christina Castillo of the Thomas Merton Center at the May 1 rally, reading a statement from Esquivel-Hernandez. “We are all from Pittsburgh, we all call this place home, we all have family and love connected to this city, and we need to start fighting united as if we were all a family.”

In joining with that fight, Guillermo Perez, of Pittsburgh’s chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, is calling for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to become “Freedom” municipalities, as defined by the American Civil Liberties Union. Freedom polices include nine rules, most of which demand that ICE be barred from city and county facilities without a judicial warrant or pursuant to a court order, and that local police not ask about immigration status or voluntarily release immigration information to ICE.

Because Pittsburgh already complies with many of the Freedom policies, Perez says more pressure must be put on Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald, so the county and the city can achieve Freedom status.

In a statement sent to City Paper in January, Allegheny County Jail warden Orlando Harper said ICE officials can check inmates’ immigration status through a database, and that “[ICE] staff come into the facility several times a week to review [an] inmate’s immigration status.” Fitzgerald, as the county's top elected official, controls how the Allegheny County Jail is operated.

Perez says Pittsburgh and other municipalities can’t fully protect immigrants without policy changes at the county jail. “The Allegheny County Jail does not need to share information without a judicial warrant,” says Perez. “Whatever policies that we get from the city, they are not going to help if the county doesn’t also comply.”

Perez says that if undocumented immigrants and their documented relatives fear that authorities could easily learn their immigration status, they will be less likely to report crimes. He cites recent stories showing that domestic violence cases have seen decreased reporting because immigrants are fearful of being deported.

Gabe McMorland, of the Thomas Merton Center, says continuing communication between local law enforcement and ICE can increase racial profiling. He cites a 2007 Arizona Law Review paper showing that having local and state police participate in immigration enforcement efforts increases the “risk of racial profiling.”

On April 30, Perez, along with other immigrant-rights and religious groups, sent Fitzgerald a letter requesting that the county jail stop sharing information with ICE without a judicial warrant or court order. The letter, which Perez shared with CP, also asks Fitzgerald to call on state legislators to oppose anti-immigrant legislation and to publicly encourage county municipalities to adopt policies “protecting the civil rights of all immigrants.”

County spokesperson Amie Downs wrote in an email to CP that Fitzgerald's office has "not received any letter from the advocates and so commenting on its contents and response would be premature." She added that county officials will "certainly review it when received to determine if any of the requests of the county are items that we could do."

In a September 2016 interview with CP, Fitzgerald said that he doesn’t have the authority to alter municipalities' immigration-policing policies.

“I don't have the authority to go to the Mount Lebanon police, to tell them we don’t [want them communicating with ICE] in Allegheny County,” said Fitzgerald. “They could agree, but they don’t have to listen to what any county executive says. … We want to be a welcoming area, but we can’t mandate that everybody be as welcoming as we want them to be.”

However, Fitzgerald said that attracting immigrants to Allegheny County is high on his priorities.

“One of things we are doing, we are proactively reaching out to immigrants,” said Fitzgerald. “We want more immigration in this region. Some of it because it is the right thing to do, but some of it because economically, we need it. We are going to have so many people retiring over the course of next eight or nine years … we are going to 8,000 people short [to fill those jobs].”

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, April 14, 2017

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 1:19 PM

click to enlarge Politicians and local leaders discuss Pennsylvania state bills attacking immigrants, health care and organized labor. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Politicians and local leaders discuss Pennsylvania state bills attacking immigrants, health care and organized labor.
Big news stories about how President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are introducing rules and laws meant to attack immigrants, organized labor and health care seem to be dropping weekly. While those stories get most of the public’s attention, for Pittsburghers and Pennsylvanians, it may be more prudent to watch the similar action happening at the state level in Harrisburg.

Republican, and even some Democratic lawmakers at the state capitol are also introducing bills attacking labor unions, immigrants and public health. And because of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the federal government tends to avoid overreaching its authority on a multitude of state laws. So, the lesson from an April 14 roundtable discussion with local politicians, union members and immigrant-rights advocates: pay attention to Harrisburg.

“We came here to talk about some issues at the state level that need immediate attention,” said state Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Lincoln-Lemington) during the discussion at Smithfield Street Church of Christ in Downtown. “There are bills in Harrisburg that we need to fight against in order to protect working families.”

Some of the pieces of legislation the panel is objecting to are SB 10, a bill aimed at defunding so-called “sanctuary cities”; SB 300, a state effort to defund services at Planned Parenthood; and a series of “right-to-work” bills. (Right-to-work legislation, like SB 166 and SB 167, would allow non-union members to avoid paying into unions in unionized workplaces. Labor advocates say these laws undercut workers' right to organize.)

“These are really dangerous times ahead, where people are trying to strip our rights,” said Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus (D-South Side) to the crowd of about 20 in attendance.

Steve Kelly is member of the Service Employees International Union and a local custodian. He said at the roundtable that if right-to-work laws are put in place, it could “totally destroy” workers’ ability to collectively bargain.

“I can’t tell you how scared it makes me,” said Kelly.

Jeimy Sanchez-Ruiz of immigrant-rights group Casa San José said Pittsburgh's Latino-immigrant community is also frightened by bills like SB 10. Sanchez-Ruiz says SB 10, which would force local police officers to fully communicate and cooperate with federal immigration officials, would increase police racial profiling.

“We should not be afraid of our own police,” said Sanchez-Ruiz. She added that bills like these could push immigrants, even those who are legal residents and U.S. citizens, further into the shadows in fear that their families might be separated through deportation.

Gainey said to combat these bills in Harrisburg, Pittsburghers must react with organization.
“We as people have to continue to organize and protest, but also bring new voices to Harrisburg,” said Gainey.

click to enlarge Immigrant-rights advocates protesting outside of state Rep. Tony DeLuca's office in Penn Hills - PHOTO COURTESY OF THOMAS MERTON CENTER
Photo courtesy of Thomas Merton Center
Immigrant-rights advocates protesting outside of state Rep. Tony DeLuca's office in Penn Hills
And some of that organizing is already working. State reps. Dom Costa (D-Stanton Heights) and Tony DeLuca (D-Penn Hills) have both recently changed their stances on SB 10, vowing now to vote against the state’s anti-sanctuary city bill, thanks to protests and pressure from local immigrant-rights groups.

A group of immigrant-rights advocates from Casa San José and the Thomas Merton Center protested at DeLuca’s office on April 13; then staffers told the protesters that the state representative would change his vote on SB 10. (DeLuca still supports HB 459, a bill that would impose penalties on business that hire undocumented workers, which advocates argue could further encourage employers to keep all workers off the books, thus exposing employees, including the undocumented, to sub-standard wages and working conditions. Activists are pressuring DeLuca to change his stance on that bill too.)

Members of the April 14 roundtable told attendees they should participate in a May 1, May Day march for immigrant-rights to showcase their opposition to all of the bills discussed. Kelly of SEIU spoke about the importance of organized labor joining the causes of protecting healthcare and immigrant-rights.

“My heart breaks for what is happening to immigrants,” said Kelly. “I will be there [at the march] with you. I will be there with all of the workers.”

The May Day March will take place on May 1 at 3 the intersection of Hot Metal and South Water streets in the South Side. And a related festival, open to the public, with food and music, will occur at Pittsburgh Federation Of Teachers Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 12:04 PM

click to enlarge Republican Sen. Pat Toomey decrying sanctuary cities at a campaign event  in October 2016. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey decrying sanctuary cities at a campaign event in October 2016.
The Republican Party got serious about eliminating so-called “sanctuary cities” (municipalities that limit communication between local law enforcement and federal immigration officers) in the fall of 2015. On the campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump had been decrying them, claiming they were leading to increased crime by undocumented immigrants, even though a recent study from the libertarian think tank Cato Institute says the “incarceration rate for [undocumented] immigrants is lower than the incarceration rate for native white Americans.”

Regardless, Republican senators, like Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, got on board the anti-sanctuary-city train soon after Trump raised the issue's profile. For example, Toomey co-sponsored legislation in October 2015 to strip federal funds from “sanctuary cities,” and to get them to increase communication between local police officers and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

Toomey continued carrying the anti-sanctuary-city torch by reintroducing legislation in July 2016. Though that legislation failed to garner enough votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster, Toomey still backs ending sanctuary cities and said so as recently as February, in one of his telephone town halls.

But now, President Trump seems to be at odds with Toomey, at least in the details of their policy proposals. This week, Trump released a budget proposal with massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and many programs that help cities and towns address infrastructure and housing.

Toomey’s Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S. 3100) proposes withholding federal funding from the Economic Development Administration and Community Development Block Grants as a way to pressure sanctuary cities to communicate and cooperate fully with ICE. But Trump’s budget proposal eliminates those two departments, leaving Toomey’s bill without anything to withhold. It’s like punishing a child by saying "no video games for a week," when the child doesn’t have any video games to begin with.

Toomey issued this statement shortly after Trump released his budget proposal: "After years of overspending, I am encouraged that the President has proposed actual spending cuts and has committed to maintaining the overall cap on discretionary spending. I look forward to carefully examining each of the proposed reductions in this budget proposal." (It should be noted that Trump's proposal doesn't reduce overall federal spending; it mostly just reallocates billions of dollars to the military.)

Trump has been criticized for making policy proposals that aren’t well constructed and can’t actually be applied. (For example, his second attempt at a travel ban for several Muslim-majority counties was held up this week by federal courts; Trump withdrew his first attempt after it was blocked by courts.)

Representatives from Toomey’s office did not return a request for comment for this article.

Sundrop Carter, of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizen Coalition, says she is not surprised that Trump’s proposal would undermine Toomey’s bill. But she says that in the end, it doesn’t really matter, because most GOP leaders would rather issue rhetoric that emboldens xenophobia and scares immigrant communities, than pass effective laws.

“Toomey's bill, like most anti-immigrant bills, is more about the rhetoric and pushing forward an anti-immigrant agenda than it is about the specifics of the bill," says Carter. "And the current administration clearly values the xenophobic value of policies more than their actual legitimacy or constitutionality.”

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Posted By on Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 3:42 PM

click to enlarge Immigrant-rights advocates and constituents protest outside Dom Costa's office in Morningside. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Immigrant-rights advocates and constituents protest outside Dom Costa's office in Morningside.
In the aftermath of recent immigration stories like the deportation of Pittsburgh immigrant-rights advocate Martín Esquivel-Hernandez and President Donald Trump’s immigration executive orders, thousands of Pittsburgh residents have responded with a call to action. They are demanding local laws and policies that are sympathetic to immigrants, both documented and undocumented.

In contrast, many Pittsburgh-area Democratic state representatives have continued their support for bills that immigrant-rights activists say are harmful to law-abiding undocumented immigrants and their communities. Allegheny County Democratic state Reps. Dom Costa, Joe Markosek, Tony Deluca, Harry Readshaw and Bill Kortz all have a legislative history of supporting anti-immigrant legislation.

And a group of immigrant-rights advocates and constituents are not happy about it. On March 13, outside of Costa’s Morningside office, more than 30 people protested past and recent actions from Costa on immigration-related bills in the Pennsylvania legislature; 10 of the 30 people were Costa's constituents.

Costa and DeLuca (D-Penn Hills), for example, have recently co-sponsored HB 856 and HB 459, bills that would require Pennsylvania employers to use E-Verify to check if workers are legally authorized to work in U.S., and would impose penalties on business that hire undocumented workers.

On their faces, the bills appear to punish employers, not immigrants, but Guillermo Perez, of the Labor Council of Latin American Advancement, says the potential laws could further encourage employers to keep all workers off the books, thus exposing employees, including the undocumented, to sub-standard wages and working conditions. Additionally, mandatory E-Verify programs in other states have had mixed results, and penalties for hiring undocumented workers are already imposed by the federal government.

“This is not in place with our values,” said Perez at the protest. “Pittsburgh has a history of embracing working-class immigrants.”

Perez also called for Allegheny County Democratic state representatives to denounce HB 14, a bill encouraging college professors and administrators to tip off U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to undocumented immigrants, and SB 10, a bill that would strip funding from sanctuary municipalities.

“I am vehemently opposed to SB 10,” said Hannah Gerbe, a Costa constituent from Friendship. “It will only lead to increased racial profiling and deportations. I want Costa to pick the side of being welcoming and oppose these anti-immigrant bills.”

Representatives from Costa's office did not return a request for comment.

Costa was originally a co-sponsor on HB 14, and constituents and advocates protested in front of his office in February against his support. Costa later said he was incorrectly listed as a co-sponsor and vowed to vote against HB 14. Additionally, Costa, Markosek, Readshaw and Kortz all voted in favor of HB 1885 last year, which was a stricter anti-sanctuary-municipality bill than SB 10, since it required local police officers who have “reasonable cause” to believe an immigrant is undocumented to contact ICE.

Perez questions the intentions of these anti-immigrant bills. “How will any of this lead to economic growth and prosperity for workers and families?,” said Perez. “We need young, working-age people with families who want to make positive contributions to settle here in Pennsylvania.”

This idea has been echoed by both Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who both want to see an increase in immigrants moving to the area to fill soon-to-be vacated jobs and fight population decline. According to U.S. Census figures, from 2010-2015, the Pittsburgh metro area's population would have declined by thousands had 12,000 immigrants not moved in.

Immigrant-rights advocates understand the importance of attracting and keeping immigrants in the region too, and it appears they have many Allegheny County constituents on their side. Gabe McMorland, of the Thomas Merton Center, said last week that a group of advocates spent four days phone-banking constituents to inform them of their state representatives’ support for anti-immigrant legislation. McMorland said they contacted hundreds of constituents, and many were sympathetic to immigrant issues and unaware of their state representatives' support of the aforementioned bills.

McMorland said that advocates plan to rally more constituents and hold demonstrations outside the offices of Markosek, Readshaw, Kortz and DeLuca in the near future.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 3:18 PM

click to enlarge Marchers on Broadway Avenue in Beechview - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Marchers on Broadway Avenue in Beechview
Pittsburgh has one of the smallest percentages of foreign-born people of any large U.S. city, but in Beechview on Feb. 16, it didn't feel like it. Although there are only 25,000 foreign-born residents among Pittsburgh’s 306,000, more than 120 people, most of them Latino immigrants, came out to march as part of the national Day Without Immigrants campaign.

“We need to stand together for everybody, not just the documented immigrants, but the undocumented, too,” said Evaline Aiken, who was born in Ecuador and now lives in the South Hills with her husband.

For the Day Without Immigrants campaign, also known in Spanish as Dia Sin Inmigrantes, events are being held on Feb. 16 across the country to showcase how integral immigrants are to every facet of life in the U.S. Immigrant workers and students walked out of work and school today to protest President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration, particular the change in enforcement priorities for U.S. immigration officials. (On Feb. 10, for example, an immigrant in Seattle was detained by authorities even though he is a DACA recipient, meaning he crossed the border illegally as a young child and has since been given access to a work permit.)

In Pittsburgh, all four of Las Palmas grocery stores and eateries closed down in solidarity with the campaign. Also close were Edgar’s Best Tacos, in the Strip District; El Milagro Mexican restaurant, in Beechview; and Bea Taco Town, in Banksville; Downtown's Bea Taco Town closed down in mid-afternoon.

Bea Taco owner Erick Martinez participated in the march because he said this country was “founded by immigrants.” He stated how a wave of European immigrants came to the U.S in the early 1900s, [and that] immigrants from Latin America are just another wave.

Martinez, born in Mexico, crossed the border without documentation when he was 7, and has since received a work permit through DACA. He came out to march, not only to support his community, but to remind people that the ICE raids have been causing his community anxiety for years and will likely get worse under Trump. 
click to enlarge Sign in the window of Las Palmas bar and restaurant saying they are closed for Day Without Immigrants event. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Sign in the window of Las Palmas bar and restaurant saying they are closed for Day Without Immigrants event.

“Most of my community is participating in this campaign in their own way,” said Martinez. “But not everyone is out here because they are afraid.”

At the march, chants echoed in the streets in both English and Spanish, and marchers carried flags from Ecuador, Honduras and the U.S. Alma Brigido, the wife of the recently deported immigrant activist, Martín Esquivel-Hernandez, addressed the crowd.

“Immigrants have rights, we are here to fight for them,” said Brigido in Spanish
And Latinos were not the only Pittsburgh immigrants participating the Day Without Immigrants campaign. Abdulkadir Chirambo is a refugee from Somalia and head of the United Somali Bantu of Greater Pittsburgh. He was not at the march, but he told City Paper that many in his community were walking out of work and school in solidarity with the campaign as well.

At the march, Kai Pang, an organizer with labor coalition Pittsburgh United and the son of Chinese immigrants, spoke to the crowd about the importance of embracing immigrants.

“We have immigrants in every sector of our economy,” said Pang. “This is our community.”

Tags: , , ,