(ESPAÑOL) Thousands are expected to come together today for an immigration rally.
Immigrant rights groups and their allies are staging what they hope will be the largest May 1 rally since 2006 — when hundreds of thousands across the country poured into the streets to demand immigration reform.
In New Jersey, marchers today will assemble in Jersey City and Newark.
“We’re going to be standing together, all the diverse immigrant populations across New Jersey,” said Sara Cullinane, state director for Make the Road New Jersey, an immigrant advocacy group in Elizabeth. “It’s a day where immigrants are coming together to show their strength.”
Some organizers are also calling for a nationwide boycott of businesses and schools billed as “A Day Without Immigrants,” to highlight how immigrants are embedded in communities and the economy.
“May 1st is the first step in a series of strikes and boycotts that will change the conversation on immigration,” said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a spokesperson from Movimiento Cosecha, an immigrant rights coalition organizing the Newark rally.
In February, some businesses shuttered and kids were kept home from school in a similar “Day Without Immigrants” boycott that spread through social media and was not organized by a formal group. Organizers expect Monday’s boycott to be more widespread.
“There is no U.S. economy without immigrants,” said Whitney Strub, an organizer of the Newark march and a history professor at Rutgers-Newark. “This is all part of a national movement. It’s multi-nodal. It’s happening in Jersey City, it’s happening in Newark. It’s a collective show of strength and support.”
Cullinane said 50 businesses in Elizabeth have already agreed to shut down on Monday.
Groups will call on cities, counties and the state to offer more protections to undocumented immigrants. Newark and Jersey City have already declared themselves sanctuary cities, meaning they will limit their cooperation with federal immigration officials.
Trump has threatened to cut federal funding from such jurisdictions but a federal judge temporarily halted the move last week.
The demonstration in Jersey City will take place at Liberty State Park starting at 2:30 p.m. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and gubernatorial candidates Phil Murphy and Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) are expected to speak at the rally.