Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) commended those who took action and brought to light the deplorable treatment of the nearly 9 million undocumented immigrants working and living within our borders. The Immigrant Freedom Ride bus tour started its historic journey this past Saturday, September 27th and will be arriving in New York City Friday, October 3rd. The tour will be stopping in 103 cities throughout the country spreading the word of the mistreatment of this often overlooked and exploited group.
Ortiz has introduced several initiatives, which would greatly improve the quality of life for many hard working and law-abiding immigrants. One right that has been denied to this group for too long is the freedom to drive their children to the hospital or themselves to work without the fear of arrest or deportation. Two bills introduced by Assemblyman Ortiz (A.5690, A.5691) are aimed at righting this wrong by allowing these individuals to apply for legal licenses and receive the proper training required to drive on our roadways.
He has also made it his mission to expose the many illegal sweatshops that operate throughout New York City’s underground marketplace. Many immigrant workers are forced to work in unsafe and inhuman conditions for miniscule sums of money, which requires them to work ridiculous hours just to get by. Ortiz has introduced several pieces of legislation (A.3005, A.3006, A.3008, A.3838, A.4058, A.6006, A.6284) which, would protect the rights of these workers and close down those operations that work outside the confines of the law. These legislative initiatives focus on topics ranging from protecting workers from retaliation by employers, to failure to pay wages, to the transportation and distribution of the products produced.
In addition many hard working immigrants are unable to take advantage of the array of services offered by the cities and states they reside in because of language barriers. Ortiz has introduced legislation (A.2923, A.3842, A.6268) which would require government run organizations such as welfare offices to provide their information in a bilingual format.
“These individuals get up every morning like you and me and work hard all day to provide for their families, and in return they deserve the rights we all take for granted everyday.” said Ortiz.
The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride will be arriving in Washington D.C. today for a rally that will take place today and tomorrow. They will then continue north for their final rally in New York City on October 3rd and 4th.
“This trip has been a tremendous eye opener for many individuals that were unaware of the situation facing many hardworking immigrants throughout the country. The immigrant workers, activists, union organizers, civil rights leaders and all others who have joined this fight have taken on a noble cause and should be commended for their efforts.” said Ortiz.