March 27, 2006

One Million Plus Gather for Protest in Los Angeles

From the LA Times:

Attendance at the demonstration far surpassed the number of people who protested against the Vietnam War and Proposition 187, a 1994 state initiative that sought to deny public benefits to undocumented migrants but was struck down by the courts. Police said there were no arrests or injuries except for a few cases of exhaustion.

At a time when Congress prepares to crack down further on illegal immigration and self-appointed militias patrol the U.S. border to stem the flow, Saturday's rally represented a massive response, part of what immigration advocates are calling an unprecedented effort to mobilize immigrants and their supporters nationwide.

It coincides with an initiative on the part of the Roman Catholic Church, spearheaded by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, to defy a House bill that would make aiding undocumented immigrants a felony. And it signals the burgeoning political clout of Latinos, especially in California.

"There has never been this kind of mobilization in the immigrant community ever," said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. "They have kicked the sleeping giant. It's the beginning of a massive immigrant civil rights struggle."
From the BBC
Organiser Javier Rodriguez said demonstrators wanted an immigration system that was humane and not racist.

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make it a felony for immigrants to be in the US illegally.

The Senate is set to discuss the bill on Tuesday. President George Bush has proposed a guest-worker plan.

He is proposing to allow foreigners to remain in the US for a set period of time to carry out specific jobs, but his Republican Party is divided over the issue.

The president this week urged all sides of the debate to tone down their rhetoric.

He said securing borders was a top priority but he also invoked the country's history as "a nation of immigrants" to argue for a balanced approach.


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