Left: Aerial view of April 10 rally in LA
(Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC) Pro-immigration activists have called for a national boycott and marches on Monday, May 1, and they claim millions of Latinos will take to the nation's streets to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants and influence immigration reform.
"For this day the purpose is clear: we will force a national boycott. On May 1, we're asking working men and women of immigrant origin and all its supporters to not go to work, not go to school, not to shop and not to sell anything," said Juan Jose Gutierrez, who is the national coordinator for the Latino Movement USA.
Hispanic leaders across the country are divided over Monday's boycott. Some call it a nonviolent protest in the mold of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., while others believe that too much protesting could hurt the cause of immigration reform.
Thousands of truck drivers working out of the Port of Los Angeles and cab drivers who serve Los Angeles International Airport are expected to strike for the day or possibly the week.
"If truckers aren’t trucking, the port isn’t working," said Los Angeles organizer Jim DeMaegt. "If cab drivers don’t drive, LAX will be shut down. Nobody knows precisely what will happen, but there is a lot of support."
Predicting the effects of the rallies depends largely on the turnouts.
"There will be 2 to 3 million people hitting the streets in Los Angeles alone. We're going to close down Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Tucson, Phoenix, Fresno," said Jorge Rodriguez, a union official who helped organize earlier rallies.
Among the most vocal in opposition to the rallies has been Jim Glichrist, founder of the Minutemen Project.
"It's intimidation," said Gilchrist. "It's intimidation when a million people march down main streets in our major cities under the Mexican flag. It angers the people you are trying to impress. This will backfire just like the Mexican flag parades backfired."
Of course, one might make the same argument of "intimidation" for stationing paramilitary forces like the Minutemen on the border.
Now that the boycott (or paro in Spanish) has been called, the organizers need to deliver on their plans, or face the prospect of appearing ineffective.
If nothing else, Monday appears to be gearing up to be a day to remember.