My mother came here on a tourist visa (read: temporary visa) in the mid-1960s, accompanied by my aunt and uncle, college-educated professionals who were recruited to work for US-based companies during the 'brain drain' that saw so many professionals leave Asia and come to the US.
My mother never left. She was an 'illegal' (even if she will never admit that she was, and shows an incredible disdain for undocumented immigrants). She eventually became a naturalized citizen, but she did not come through the 'proper chanels' to get here. Her story is not an uncommon one. She, like most other immigrants that come to the U.S. (legally or illegally), came here to chase the American dream, to be able to send her children to college, and to create a better life for herself. My mother and I, and my cousins that have immigrated to the states, send money back to the Phiippines to help pay for my grandmother's health care costs and my cousin's schooling. This global economy and First World v. Third World conditions forces us to have to stay here (even though some of us don't want to) because this is where the money can be made. This is where some modicum of economic opportunity exists.
That's why I'm marching in the streets tomorrow, May 1st, May Day, International Worker Day. That's why I support the call for "A Day Without an Immigrant." And even though the large mobilizations that took place in early April were mostly of Latinos, I hope that Asian, African and Middle-Eastern and other immigrant groups (I mean, unless you're Native American you're an immigran) get out in the streets too. We need to be there, otherwise the Right is going to continue to try and divide and conquer us (like the sickening example of the Border militia group the Minutemen Project making a public statement that illegal immigrants are taking jobs and 'hurting Blacks in the inner city the most'. The Minutement don't give a s**t about Black people in the inner city.)
I'm thrilled to see major news outlets like CNN are covering this historic moment. Millions may walk out of school and refuse to go to work to march in the streets, stop 'business as usual' and stand up for not just immigrant rights, but human rights.