American Apparel Speaks Out on Immigration Reform

Jake Madrigal

American Apparel is one of a growing number of mainstream retailers that is putting its money where its mouth is in reform of the state of California’s immigration laws.

American Apparel states on its Web site that as early as 2003 the company felt strongly about the issue of immigration in California, and that it is now taking bold new measures.
It is now stirring up controversy with its newest ad campaign “Legalize LA.”

While visiting the local American Apparel store in Pasadena one might find a group of protesters who highly disagree with the American Apparel campaign.

This group has been picketing with signs that read “Legalize LA: Deport Immigrants” in protest of the immigration reform that American Apparel is
fighting for.

The group, whose members chose to remain anonymous, said “this is America, this is the land of opportunity, and these illegal immigrants are ruining [it] and taking jobs from legal American citizens who deserve them.”

There are also a group of videos on that were made by anti-immigration activists who argue against the “Legalize LA,” ads stating that they are illegally posting “Legalize LA” signs and poster-boards all over the city.

American Apparels ads state their ideas for reform: “It is time to give a voice to the voiceless, businesses are afraid to speak to the media about immigration, frightened of reprisals by government agencies. But we cannot just sit in the shadows and watch our government and politicians exploit and misrepresent this matter to advance their own careers.”

American Apparel has also released its first line of clothing to help support the reform.
The production of plain red, white and blue shirts with large letters reading “Legalize LA” are now being sold at stores in the Los Angeles area.

Although the retailer has stores all over the United States the “Legalize LA” shirts are only being sold in the Los Angeles area and online.

100 percent of net proceeds from the sales of these shirts are sent to local Los Angeles-based immigration rights groups to help support and fuel the immigration reform.

While American Apparel is producing and selling these shirts this is not the only thing it is doing when it comes to fighting for reform.

On April 29, American Apparel posted a blog on the Legalize LA section of its Web site calling for all American Apparel employees, family and friends to participate in the May 1 Immigration March and Rally for the second year in a row.

Not only was the company participating in the march, but for the first time its employees were starting the walk from its production factory in downtown L.A., where they would be escorted by the LAPD to the start of the march, which took place near Broadway Avenue and 1st Street.

They also offered a free “Legalize LA” shirt to anyone who participated in the two-mile march. reporter Teresa Watanabe said “about 8,500 people took part in three separate marches that merged to rally at 1st Street and Broadway,” for the May 1 Immigration March in Los Angeles. This is far fewer than the estimate of 20,000 participants originally expected.

Although the turnout was lower than expected, American Apparel and others believe the sentiment for reform of the immigration laws is an idea whose time has come.