To stress even more the urgent need for those demands to be met, several community members shared moving personal stories of mistreatment and discrimination. One of them was Alejandro Carreras, who came from Ecuador six years ago and joined Make the Road by Walking two years ago.
Immigrants rally to demand fair treatment
"Due to my immigration status, it has been difficult for me to find a dignified job in this country," he told the audience. "I have to do very hard jobs, but I have no choice because I have to support my family and myself."
Carreras went on to recount a terrible experience of exploitation and abuse by an employer who took advantage of his undocumented status.
"Some time ago, I worked with a cement contractor. I worked for him two weeks, under the sun. And when the job was finished, he did not pay me one single cent," he said.
Then he added something that many others in the audience already had learned the hard way.
"Unfortunately," Carreras said, "these experiences are all too frequent. Thousands of workers in New York have had similar experiences," he said.
And, addressing the elected officials directly, he added, "That's why I am asking you to help pass stronger laws in New York to protect immigrant workers."
Immigrant workers we should protect. Illegal aliens we should help find their way back home. Why does Mayor Bloomberg invite undocumented people here and allow them to be exploited?