North Carolinians March in Washington DC for Work Permits for All 

Washington D.C.- More than 2,000 Latinos marched through the streets of Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Nov. 14th, to ask President Joe Biden to extend, through an administrative order, work permits for the more than 11 million immigrants without immigration status. 

This demonstration was an end to two days of activities for the “National Here to Work Summit and Day of Action” organized by the American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC – Action), which brought together people from different states of the country such as Colorado, Illinois, California, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, among others. Before the march, all groups met with representatives of Congress to talk about work permits. 

“Countless times I’ve thought about what my life would be like if I had a work permit,” Mercy Villegas, a Salvadoran mother who has lived in North Carolina for more than 12 years, spoke to the thousands of march attendees. “I could get a job with a fair and decent salary, I would give my children the best opportunities and for the first time in many years, I would have peace of mind when doing basic things like driving to my children’s school or going to work.” 

Villegas, who is part of the leadership group of El Pueblo, called on President Biden: “On behalf of so many mothers who are in the same situation as me, I ask you to expand work permits for all immigrants like me who are contributing to this country.” 

According to a North Carolina Department of Commerce report published in March 2023, across the United States, immigrants tend to have higher rates of labor force participation than native-born individuals in North Carolina, the difference is significant. 

“In North Carolina, the labor force participation rate for foreign-born people averaged 68.6% in 2022, compared to 59.8% for native-born people,” the report states. 

Regarding this contribution to the economy, Helen Galeas, an El Pueblo fellow, pointed out: 

“As a person with DACA, I think about the millions people like me who contribute to the country with our work. Having a work permit gave me an opportunity to participate in the work life of this country without fear and allowed me to continue my education.  I would like the same for millions of immigrants, many of whom live in my community and are my loved ones.”

To learn more about the Here to Work campaign visit

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