Protesters across the state gathered in car caravans Friday in response to claims of "rampant workplace exploitation" of undocumented workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re demanding driver's licenses, protection from deportation and access to stimulus aid packages.
The Cosecha Movement organized the demonstrations in Indianapolis and Elkhart. Participants hung banners from their cars and honked horns as they drove around the Statehouse and manufacturing facilities in Elkhart. They say immigrants are facing layoffs with no access to unemployment benefits or other ways to supplement lost income.
Jose Alvarez was one of the demonstrators who drove in the Elkhart caravan. He says many undocumented workers have been essential in keeping a steady food supply and critical manufacturing plants open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We believe that their work really matters and we also believe that without their contributions, Indiana’s economy and the nation’s as a whole would suffer,” he says.
After the Elkhart rally, organizers vowed they’d continue to pressure state legislators into creating protections for immigrants.