> [Moderator's Note: No human being should ever be called "illegal" or
> "illegitimate" either.]
> Oct 18, 2000 - 01:28 PM
> ["]Illegal["] immigrants demonstrate for amnesty
> An Associated Press report
> MIAMI - Demanding amnesty, hundreds of undocumented aliens
> demonstrated at a Homestead park, mirroring other rallies throughout
> the country.
> About 300 Colombians, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Mexicans and
> Salvadorans attended the rally just south of Miami on Sunday. They
> were waving flags and carrying banners backing a nationwide movement
> to legalize up to 6.5 million undocumented immigrants.
> The National Coalition for Dignity and Amnesty, which is
> coordinating the movement, organized similar demonstrations in Los
> Angeles, New York, Chicago and Austin, Texas.
> Among its targets is congressional legislation passed in 1996 that
> makes it more difficult for legal residents to have access to
> federal benefits and for refugees to get asylum.
> Immigrants without legal documents who have been living in the
> United States since 1986 would be legalized under the movement's
> plan, with a jump to 1991 after two years. The current date is 1972.
> In addition, Haitians, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans would
> receive the same opportunity for permanent residency that was given
> in 1997 to Nicaraguans and Cubans leaving radical and communist
> Also, Colombians fleeing political unrest are seeking temporary
> protected status, which is the right to live and work in the United
> States pending resolution of the crisis or a decision on their
> immigrant status.
> More than 10,000 Colombians have arrived in Miami-Dade County in the
> past few months, according to Jose Luis Castillo, head of the Pan
> American Coalition based in Miami.
> ``We feel the time is right for amnesty and for these immigrants who
> have led productive lives to become a legal part of the work
> force,'' Castillo said.
> The movement is getting support from the AFL-CIO and other unions
> that are pushing measures to grant illegal aliens three years of
> temporary residency. That would allow access to public services and
> the right to Social Security and union membership.
> The changes would protect workers from unjustly low wages and
> deportation threats, supporters say.
> Jose Ramos, a Mexican immigrant who works as a carpenters helper,
> wants to take advantage of such a program.
> ``I'm tired of being illegal in a country where I make an honest
> living,'' Ramos said. ``No one gives me handouts, but I have to live
> in fear of immigration workers.''
> Meanwhile, the Washington-based Federation for American Immigration
> Reform, noting that in 1986 U.S. officials granted a one-time
> amnesty in exchange for a serious effort to control illegal
> immigration, is running radio and print ads in Florida against any
> new amnesty.
> FAIR President Dan Stein said such a measure would ``reward
> lawbreaking behavior'' and that another amnesty ``is a declaration
> ... that the U.S. lacks the resolve and ability to stem the tide of
> illegal immigration.''