US clothing brand American Apparel closed its factories in Los Angeles for three hours yesterday (1 May) to allow workers to march to protest for better working conditions, fair pay and immigration reform.

The company has long advocated comprehensive immigration reform and has "criticised the apartheid-like treatment of undocumented workers".

CEO Dov Charney said: "Immigration reform is critically important not just from a humanitarian perspective, but also from an economic perspective.

"Economic growth and stability are adversely affected by the ability of employers to exploit undocumented workers, engage in sweatshop tactics, and drive wages down. Immigration reform will help raise wages and working conditions in Los Angeles and throughout the country."

In 2009, an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement found nearly 2,000 American Apparel workers in Los Angeles were working illegally. Some 1,600 workers had obtained employment by supplying suspect or invalid documentation, while the records of another 200 had discrepancies and could not be verified.