HEALDSBURG (KPIX) – Immigrant rights activists took to the streets and highways of Sonoma County on Sunday morning to show their support for undocumented workers and what they called an effort to “walk the march” in the immigration debate.
“We are walking 12 miles on behalf of the 12 million undocumented migrants,” said organizer Renee Saucedo. “We have waited long enough. It has been decades and decades.
About 100 immigrants and their supporters took to the skies for a four-hour march from Santa Rosa to Healdsburg. In an organized show of force, they passed restaurants that rely on immigrant labor and vineyards cultivated and harvested by immigrant workers. They said the intention was to urge local leaders, both in Congress and in the county government, to redouble their efforts to provide undocumented migrants with legal resident status.
“We do the hardest jobs here. We keep the wine industry here. We deserve a path to citizenship and safe and healthy workplaces, ”said Saucedo, an immigrant rights advocate with a group called ALMAS.
She said giving undocumented migrants residency status would reduce the exploitation of workers because the fear of deportation would have disappeared. It is the hope of a young man named Javier who carried a sign saying “Legalize my mother”.
“She lives here but she doesn’t have the privileges that other people have here,” Javier said.
Organizers say they want the county supervisory board to pass a resolution on immigrant rights that would be heard by members of Congress as they debate the immigration issue. Meanwhile, the marchers garnered support from a number of spectators, including Tim Goss who said he did not see immigrants as a threat to his community.
“Sometimes they come to this county as farm laborers and end up working in construction, they end up starting their own business,” he said, “so they really end up being a big contribution to the county. himself. “
Sonoma County resident Dan Wright said he believed animosity towards immigrants would eventually go away on its own as the younger generation took over.
“I think it’s a natural evolution, really,” he said. “The die-hard racists, or whatever, until they die, they’re never going to change, so that’s what has to happen.” It’s a generational thing.
Walkers prefer not to wait for evolution to take its course. They said they hoped there wouldn’t be another generation before immigrants could emerge from the shadows.
“Our community – my community – doesn’t have a lot of money, so that’s not how we influence politics and politics. But we have our bodies, ”Saucedo said. “So we are on the streets to show people that we are a force here. You have to hear us. We have some interests that you need to address.