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Nearly 1,000 Immigrant Workers Arrive in New York to End Cross-Country Freedom Rides

October 03, 2003

Hundreds of immigrants and their supporters around the country, who have been staging Immigrant Workers Freedom Rides for the last two weeks to call for better working conditions for undocumented workers, will converge in New York for a major rally this weekend.

For the last two weeks hundreds of immigrants around the country have been staging Immigrant Workers Freedom Rides to call for better working conditions for undocumented workers. The rides are inspired by the original civil rights freedom riders took place in 1961 to protest segregation.

Some 900 travelers in 18 buses have visited nearly 100 sites throughout the country in a nationwide demonstration advocating for reforms, including the legalization of undocumented workers in the U.S. The riders are made up of a diverse crowd including Mexicans, Bangladeshis, Somalis, undocumented workers and longtime US citizens.

The riders are pushing for better conditions for legal as well as illegal immigrants. Their four-point agenda focuses on workplace policies, civil liberties, faster reunification of families, as well as official status for illegal workers. The AFL-CIO is among the sponsors of this week’s bus ride, along with interfaith organizations, and immigrant-advocacy groups.

Organizers are quick to point out that some of the riders are illegal immigrants, who face being deported. But riders said any risk is worth it.

The 18 buses of the freedom ride are scheduled to go today to Liberty State Park in Jersey City for a large rally and then to Flushing Meadows tomorrow where more than 100,000 immigrants and their supporters are expected to converge.