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US immigrants mobilizing for major 'action'

Events are planned Monday in 90 cities to show immigrant strength - Latino and other.

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In Los Angeles, Eun Sook Lee will march on behalf of Korean illegal immigrants, at least 50,000, living in southern California. On Boston Common, Punam Rogers will join other Indian émigrés, as well as business clients and students from China, Germany, and Britain. In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Ivalier Duvra will take to the streets to draw attention to Haitian newcomers who he says need refugee status.

Coming on the heels of demonstrations in several larger cities, a National Day of Action on Immigrant Rights Monday is expected to involve people in some 90 US municipalities, well above organizers' goal of 10. Described as the biggest social movement of Hispanics since the United Farm Workers of Cesar Chavez, the plans for protests, vigils, and marches include a less-visible tier of people stirred to action over American immigration policy: non-Latinos.

"If you watch TV and read the papers, you would think this [immigration reform] is primarily an issue only for Latinos or only illegals or only poor immigrants. [Monday] will show differently," predicts Abdul Malik Mujahid, a Chicago-based Islamic cleric who says 7,000 Muslims will march there Monday to protest the "climate of fear" since 9/11. "Latino organizers have done a big favor not just to themselves but to all other immigrants, as well as America itself, by standing up and saying this country's immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. Now the rest of us must join in."

The national day of action seems to have expanded exponentially with the organizing power of the Internet. Besides demonstrations, speeches, processions, and assorted performances (from drumming to skits), groups are planning work-walkouts, product boycotts, fasting, and other measures.

Smaller cities where events are planned include Bakersfield, Calif.; Fort Myers, Fla.; Hays, Kan.; and Oxford, Ohio, and include groups as diverse as Ukrainians, Palestinians, Irish, labor, and antiwar coalitions.

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