On our bus, I've heard talk that white supremacists will be descending on Little Rock, where one of the IWFR buses is set to stop.
To satisfy so many constituencies, the IWFR agenda needed to respond to a variety of concerns, with legalization topping Latinos' list of priorities and family reunification dominant among Asians' worries.
In the IWFR, as its name would suggest, the unifying experience emphasized is that of workers, though the riders describe a struggle for both economic and racial justice.
Those fears were fulfilled all too vividly in Sierra Blanca, Texas, when two IWFR buses were stopped at an INS checkpoint.
Nabil is a volunteer with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who asked him to represent them on the IWFR. "I have friends who say, 'Being a young Muslim male you should avoid getting into political issues.' They say, 'You're putting yourself in jeopardy of being profiled by the government in the future.' It's a real possibility."
At the core of the IWFR is an evolving and sometimes rocky relationship between organized labor and the broader immigrant rights community, which have strong common interests but also some different priorities.
IWFR buses packed predominantly with immigrants will depart from 10 major cities, stop for events in 80 towns, roll on to Washington, D.C., for a Lobby Day, and wind up at an October 4 mass rally in Queens, New York.
Among other objectives, IWFR organizers--including labor, civil rights, community, immigrant, and business groups--seek a "clear road to citizenship" for immigrant workers, the right of non-citizens to reunite their families, and the protection of immigrants' labor rights and civil liberties.
Now IWFR organizers seek the backing of NEA members and affiliates--to endorse the IWFR, sponsor riders, organize local events, or make contributions.