This Valentine’s Day, immigrants and allies across the country will refuse to go to work, attend school or make any purchases in an effort to increase pressure on the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress to fulfill their campaign promise and pass a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.
Striking immigrant workers from across the country will march in Washington D.C. at 9:00 am EST on Monday, with other demonstrations taking place in cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and L.A. A delegation of 10-15 immigrant essential workers from across Wisconsin will join the march in Chicago on Monday morning. Before departing for Chicago, striking immigrant essential workers and Voces’ Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz will be available for media interviews from 7:40–8:00 a.m. CST at the new Voces de la Frontera office (733 W. Historic Mitchell St).
The call for the national Valentine’s Day Without Immigrants strike came from social media influencer and immigrant rights activist Carlos Eduardo Espina, who’s online petition has received over 30,000 signatures and posts on social media have gone viral and have spread to immigrant communities across the country. A public Facebook group for immigrant workers participating in the strike now has over 90,000 members.
Voces de la Frontera, Wisconsin’s leading immigrant rights organization that has organized numerous Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants general strikes since 2006, issued the following statement standing in solidarity with the Valentine’s Day strike:
“This Valentine’s Day, immigrant workers are going on strike to force President Biden and members of Congress to recognize the contributions, sacrifices and humanity of immigrant essential workers in our community.
Immigration reform must be delivered this year through legislation or a presidential pardon for millions of immigrants who work hard at the frontlines of this pandemic, pay taxes, and call the U.S. home.
In addition, we call on President Biden to immediately dismantle systems of criminalization and deportation, including: abolishing racist programs like 287g and other programs of collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE; putting an end to immoral private for-profit detention centers and prisons; and protecting the human rights of asylum seekers.
Voces de la Frontera has been using the tool of the strike since 2006 to successfully block anti-immigrant bills and advance pro-worker, pro-immigrant legislation at the state and federal level. While Voces de la Frontera stands in solidarity with this Valentine’s Day strike and supports the use of strikes as a tool to win immigration reform, we are not officially calling for our members to strike on February 14 because we do not have adequate time to prepare and support workers.
In our continued struggle to win a path to citizenship this year, we are sending a statewide delegation of the Voces Essential Worker Rights Network to join the march in Chicago on Monday morning, and we encourage all of our members and supporters to do three things. First, sign and share the viral petition calling on Congress to pass immigration reform for immigrants. Second, we ask that you commit to joining us for a Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants general strike on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Third, we encourage all of our members and supporters to join us at upcoming regional meetings across Wisconsin to explore the possibility of escalating to a two day or more general strike, starting on May 1, 2022, to increase pressure on the Biden Administration and Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Both parties are compromised by the influence of big money from corporations and the private prison industry, thus workers must stand together to stop the racism, exploitation and persecution of immigrant families and win the justice we deserve.”