Justice for Janitors, angered by pending federal legislation that would require employers to verify the immigration status of their workers via the Internet, protested in front of the San Jose federal building on June 20.
"We set this up last Friday, and this is just one among many rallies," said Cecille Isidro, spokeswoman for the United Service Workers West. "We will do whatever it takes to stop this bill."
The bill, "Legal Workforce Act" (H.R. 2164), introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, would mandate the use of E-Verify for employers. Under the proposed law, Social Security numbers and immigrant identification numbers of new hires are checked against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases to determine work eligibility.
Smith says the legislation is intended to help ensure that jobs are reserved for citizens and legal workers.
However, opponents claim that the pending bill "would further threaten our economic recovery by mandating that all employers rely on an error-ridden government database that does not accurately verify worker eligibility."
Protesters marched during lunchtime in front of the federal building at Second and East San Carlos streets, carrying signs that read Justice for Janitors on one side, and Fuera de nuestros barrios, (Keep it out of our neighborhood) and Que paso con el hope? (Where is the hope?)
Braulia Delgado, a janitor, said that the protest was to prevent immigrants from losing their jobs now, and from being affected in the future. "It is my hope that President Obama will hear us and prevent this [bill] from happening." As of June 14, the bill was referred to several committees in the Congress.
The State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) are also opposed to the bill.