Foreign Policy Blogs

May Day…AKA Illegal Immigrant Rights Day!

may1st2006.jpg(c) Jen G. Bowen

Spring is in the air, and so is the urge to get out and demonstratethis is not only the season of flowers and weekends in the park, it's the perfect time to make your voice heard for the cause you believe in.
Yesterday, May 1, 2007, was "May Day', and while some of you may have been dancing with colorful ribbons around the May Pole, a relatively new tradition for the day is to rally for immigrant rights.

Let us not forget that immigrant rights are not just about wages and residency or citizenship for adults, but they are about the rights of children. Immigrant rights are vital to children, as they are so often caught in the middle of such a prominent issue in American politics. Many children has only a few fading memories of the home the once had, others were born in the States to illegal immigrant parents, and others are all alone living lives of exploitation thanks to human traffickers.

The issues are also very important for those children who are part of Americas labor force. For many young immigrant children work in our very own farm industry, and they do so with little to no protection. Children often find them selves abused, over worked, underpaid, and just plainly exploited for the sake of cheaper products. Child labor is no laughing matter, regardless of whether or not the child is legally or illegally in the country.

Do the children of illegal immigrant children have the right to an education? Article 28, 1 (a) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, states that all countries should, "Make primary education compulsory and available free to all". However many citizens have voiced a great deal of concern about the subject, especially when looking at the mounting cost of taxes that are spent to educate illegal children. There are around 380,000 illegal immigrant children in California's schools alone (Inalienable Right?). As a human rights activist I fully believe no one, especially a child, should suffer for the acts of their parents. If a child is denied education, whether a citizen or an illegal alien, then the cycle of poverty will only continue.

The debate over the rights of illegal immigrants will probably continue for many years to come, but the one thing I know is that children by birth alone have a rights, and we must ensure that these rights are met, regardless of citizenship or political opinion.

For more information on this years demonstrations see my esteemed fellow blogger, Rohini Gupta's posting on the Mexico blog.

Center for Immigration Studies

Relevant Articles

My Mother "the Illegal Alien'?
Border war – citizenship of illegal immigrants’ children
Democracy Now



Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.

Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict