Up to ten thousand people rallied in Milwaukee today to oppose a new federal rule which could force employers to fire eight million workers within weeks.
“The issue of ‘No Match’ letters is not just about immigrant workers,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz of Voces de la Frontera. “US citizens will also be hurt by this crackdown. The majority of the names on the Social Security Administration’s ‘No Match’ list
are legal workers. Given the errors in the database and the tight timeframe being allowed for problems to be resolved, many workers will be dismissed if the Bush
administration is able to push ahead with this rule.”
The Milwaukee event formed one of the largest mobilizations of a National Day of Action organized by immigrant rights groups across at least 15 U.S. cities.
Many more cities have committed to mass mobilizations on October 12 if the new rule is not revoked.
A court challenge which has put a temporary stay on the letters will be heard on October 1st. However, Voces de la Frontera says it is not waiting for the outcome – more than two thousand signed up at the rally to be part of ‘rapid response teams’ to meet the threat of firings, amid are early indications that some employers are not waiting for the court case
to be resolved before acting.
The sense of urgency was evident in the numbers attending and comments from the crowd. “I lost a day’s wages for attending today,” said a young immigrant who came with 40 co-workers, “but if this new rule takes effect I will not be able to support my disabled
mother. Everyone needs to take a stand on this issue.”
Organizers put the number attending at eight to ten thousand. The Sheriff’s Department confirmed an attendance of at least 5,000.