Illegal But Fighting For Rights

No longer cowering in the shadows, America's undocumented workers are taking their grievances to court and even joining unions

At first glance, the news seems routine. Four hundred deliverymen in Manhattan join a labor union and win $3 million in back pay. What's unusual is that the workers, predominantly from West Africa, are all undocumented. And, even more remarkable, these illegal immigrants, given lax immigration enforcement, have little reason to fear deportation. Indeed, one of them, Siaka Diakite, an Ivory Coast native, is now pictured in a widely distributed color brochure put out by the AFL-CIO. Says Charles Batchli, a plaintiff from the Congo: "It didn't matter who we were. We are human beings first. The question was, Were we...

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