Archive for Sunday, March 26, 2006

Thousands rally in California for immigrants’ rights

March 26, 2006

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— Immigration rights advocates more than 500,000 strong marched in downtown Los Angeles, demanding that Congress abandon attempts to make helping illegal immigrants a crime and to build more walls along the border.

The massive demonstration, one of a half dozen around the nation in recent days, came as President Bush prodded Republican congressional leaders to give some illegal immigrants a chance to work legally in the U.S. under certain conditions.

Saturday's march in Los Angeles was the largest in a series of demonstrations across the country. Police Cmdr. Louis Gray Jr. said aerial helicopters estimated the crowd.

Many marchers wore white shirts to symbolize peace and waved U.S. flags. Some carried the flags of Mexico and other countries, and wore them as capes.

Elger Aloy, 26, of Riverside, a premed student, pushed a stroller with his 8-month-old son at Saturday's Los Angeles march and called the legislation "inhumane."

"Everybody deserves the right to a better life," he said.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally, impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants and erect fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border.

The Senate is to begin debating the proposals on Tuesday.

Thousands of people stream on Saturday into downtown Los Angeles for a pro-immigrant rally. Many of the marchers wore white shirts to symbolize peace and waved U.S. flags. Some carried the flags of Mexico and other countries.

Thousands of people stream on Saturday into downtown Los Angeles for a pro-immigrant rally. Many of the marchers wore white shirts to symbolize peace and waved U.S. flags. Some carried the flags of Mexico and other countries.

President Bush on Saturday called for legislation that does not force America to choose between being a welcoming society and a lawful one.

"America is a nation of immigrants, and we're also a nation of laws," Bush said in his weekly radio address about the emotional immigration issue that has driven a wedge into his party.

Bush sides with business leaders who want legislation to let some of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants stay in the country and work for a set period of time. Others, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, say national security concerns should drive immigration reform.

"They say we are criminals. We are not criminals," said Salvador Hernandez, 43, of Los Angeles, a resident alien who came to the United States illegally from El Salvador 14 years ago and worked as truck driver, painter and day laborer.

Francisco Flores, 27, a wood flooring installer from Santa Clarita who is a former illegal immigrant, said, "We want to work legally, so we can pay our taxes and support the country, our country."

On Friday, tens of thousands of people were estimated to have joined in rallies in cities including Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta and staged school walkouts, marches and work stoppages.

Comments

true_patriot 9 years, 2 months ago

That picture is amazing. These people treasure freedom and democracy so much that they take to the streets in massive turnouts of indignation across the nation in these causes.

Yet the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/21/AR2006032101763.html) revealed last week that the recent Draconian budget bill that cuts help for mainstream Americans to the bone (the one that Cheney had to fly back home and vote to break a tie on) was edited to the tune of $2,000,000,000 after it was passed and the edited version is what Bush signed into law, not the version that was voted on. Except that it is not law, according to legal scholars (and anyone that has had ninth grade civics), since anything signed into law MUST be voted on by both houses. Now that they've been outed, the administration and GOP leaders are saying they "consider it a done deal" (legal or not). Of course, they do not want to have to re-vote the issue and lose, much less go on record this much closer to the fall election as having voted for cutting money to education, student loans, critical safety nets for those being pushed into poverty by their previous cuts, volunteer efforts for Katrina recovery, and so forth while spending us into massive generational debt on an unprecedented military budget, taxcuts for the ultra-rich, corporate welfare, and unbelievably expensive pork projects in their home districts.

Yet i have not seen this covered even once on the corporate television news, from Fox to CNN to the networks, much less broadcast it loudly so all Americans can know what is happening. Given the ongoing illegal domestic spying that specifically breaks the FISA law created to allow warrantless spying with oversight by a secret court, this significant event where the president signs into law legislation that did not pass both chambers of the Congress is an appalling corrosion of the democratic process piled on top of a constitutional crisis. We Americans that are fortunate enough to be citizens of this nation do not demonstrate even a shred of the concern for our freedom and democracy compared to these hard-working visitors from the south.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

I am amazed that Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton are now proposing a guest worker program, one that is nearly identical to the one GW has been espousing since 2000.

I am in favor of figuring out a way to make it possible for the people who are here to work to do so without the stigma of being "illegal."

One solution may be to increase, by millions, the number of Mexican visas to be issued.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Unemployment in the US is 4.8%-that means around 7,400,000 citizen who want to work cannot find employment.

I guess if we send the 11,000,000 "illegals" home, that means that each of the 7,400,000 unemployed "legals" will find a job and the US will be at full employment, right?

Nah, I doubt it will work out that way.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

If umemployment were measured here the same way that it is in the European Union, that 4.8% figure would easily double, bringing it much closer to the unemployment rates there.

Millions of the jobs in this country are temporary/seasonal. The companies that offer these jobs don't want permanent employees-- they don't want to have to pay them any sort of benefits, or structure their businesses to support full-time employees.

This has the effect of creating a very large, permanent pool of unemployed and underemployed, who are desperate for any work they can get, and will therefore work for poor wages, no benefits and under poor and dangerous conditions. The illegal immigrants are just part of that pool, and they are among the most desperate, which is why businesses who rely on this pool like them so much.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Okay, you got me. What is the difference between the way the EU and US measure unemployment?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

The US doesn't count anyone who has "quit" looking for employment (primarily meaning they aren't getting unemployement benefits or hanging out at the unemployment office,) or has part-time employed, regardless of whether they'd want full-time employment. There are other differences, too, but can't recite them off the top of my head.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

I wouldn't count the ones who "quit," either. I'd call that "retired."

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

So, anyway, back on topic, who is going to go out and round up these millions of people and send them home, and how long will that take, how much will it cost, and why would it be worth it?

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Bravo, LJreader! I think you have a workable plan.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Inequity in taxation and the delivery of entitlements breeds the animosity between established citizens and immigrants. Change the system, and make everyone equal.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Agreed. Think sales tax, only. Each of us is taxed on what we consume in excess of an agreed upon 'poverty level." Government provides services on a level equal to that which its society consumes. You enjoy, you pay.

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