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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Immigration bill protested

Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat 

Protesters put their rights to peaceful demonstration into action against Senate Bill 1070 at the northwest corner of Congress St. and Granada Ave. on Tuesday, April 20. Community members protesting the bill held signs encouraging people to veto it and honk if they agree.
Lisa Beth Earle
Lisa Beth Earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Protesters put their rights to peaceful demonstration into action against Senate Bill 1070 at the northwest corner of Congress St. and Granada Ave. on Tuesday, April 20. Community members protesting the bill held signs encouraging people to veto it and honk if they agree.

UA students and other members of the community protested Senate Bill 1070, which would allow local officers to arrest undocumented immigrants for trespassing and require local police to enforce federal immigration laws.

On Monday, the Arizona Senate approved SB 1070, and now the bill only needs the signature of Gov. Jan Brewer to become law.

Brewer has said she will review the bill “”completely”” over the course of the next few days before making a decision.

U.S. Sen. John McCain showed support for the bill after the Senate approved the measure.

“”I think the people of Arizona understandably are frustrated and angry,”” McCain said Monday. “”It’s also a commentary on the frustration that our state legislature has that the federal government has not fulfilled its constitutional responsibilities to secure our borders.””

Arizona would be the first state to criminalize illegal immigrants if Brewer signs the bill.

Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, sponsored the bill.

“”Illegal is not a race, it’s a crime,”” Pearce told the Senate on Monday. “”Why in the world do (illegal immigrants) think they have a right to break the law? And we are the bad guys for insisting that the law be enforced? The public doesn’t agree with that.””

Protesters camped out in front of the Arizona State Office Building at 400 W. Congress St. in downtown Tucson.

They started off with a march from Armory Park to the state office building at 11 a.m. There were about 40 people who took part in the march.

Their numbers dwindled during the early afternoon, but picked up again around 3:30 p.m. By about 4:30 p.m. there were more than 60 people at the corner of Granada Avenue and Congress Street.

Once the protestors got to the state offices, they sent people in every hour to see if they could talk to someone from Brewer’s office. Brewer was in town Tuesday according to her deputy assistant Tim Bee. One of the protesters finally got to speak with Bee and requested and audience with Brewer.

Bee asked what they would do if she approved the bill. Their response was that they would continue to protest and even ramp up their efforts.

The majority of protesters were wearing white T-shirts for unity, since there were several different human rights and Hispanic groups represented at the protest.

Derechos Humanos and the Border Action Network organized the protest by mostly by sending out Facebook and text messages.

UA groups that organized people included the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs.

“”This (protest) is at least 90 percent students, if not more. There’s a few adults … there’s students from (various) high schools, Pima Community College and the U of A,”” said Ray Almanza, a philosophy junior and a brother in the Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity.

Almanza is also a member of the Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs and the Campaign to Reform Immigration for America.

Protesters, armed with megaphones, signs and the support of some passing cars, made their message of opposition heard.

They chanted phrases like “”It’s time for justice”” and “”We won’t go until we get a veto.””

A sheriff in a patrol car and an operator of a Sun Tran bus honked their horns in support. The driver of an official Pima County vehicle also showed support by laying on the horn and even delaying traffic at one point.

Another UA student, Ramón Valle, a sociology and public administration junior, sent out about 40 text messages to friends to come to the protest.

“”I just want us to be heard and for (Brewer) to take in to consideration our view,”” said Valle, a member of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan. “”Mexican Americans have to be interrogated every time they confront a police officer.””

The protesters also had the support of some in the religious community as well. Alison Harrington, a pastor at the Southside Presbyterian Church, came out to support the cause.

“”I’m here to put pressure on the governor to veto the bill,”” Harrington said. “”This further divides and criminalizes a class of people.””

She added that Arizonans are less secure because of the mistrust between the police and community.

Tanner John, a campus minister at the Newman Center, said he expected about 15 student parishioners to attend the protest as well.

“”The church at large, and especially at the Newman Center, we’re really angry about the lobbying (that) passed and so we’re going to enter into this protest from the Catholic standpoint. We’re protesting against it because we feel it’s unjust, it goes directly against Catholic social teaching,”” John said.

 

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