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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students rally against immigration bill

    Phoenix-area high school students gather to rally against proposed immigration legislation yesterday at the state Capitol. The bill being considered in the U.S. Senate would make it a felony to be an illegal immigrant.
    Phoenix-area high school students gather to rally against proposed immigration legislation yesterday at the state Capitol. The bill being considered in the U.S. Senate would make it a felony to be an illegal immigrant.

    PHOENIX – Two large groups of students showed up at the state Capitol yesterday, and while one group received a small tour of the capitol and an introduction by a state senator, the other group was accused of needlessly ditching classes and kept under the watchful eye of the police.

    The estimated 3,000 students who came to the state Capitol to protest immigration bills being discussed in the Senate yesterday were not as welcome as the two dozen fourth graders from Barbara B. Robey Elementary School who came for a tour of the Capitol building.

    The crowd of mostly Hispanic students, waving Mexican flags and alternating between chants in English and Spanish, came to the Capitol to protest immigration legislation being considered in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Their main target was HR 4437, written by House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., which would outlaw humanitarian and other forms of aid and support for illegal immigrants and make it a felony to be an undocumented immigrant.

    The bill would:

    ? Create a five-year-long guest worker program for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.

    ? Enforce a five-year jail term for anyone, including members of the clergy and nonprofits, who assist illegal immigrants in any way

    ? Build a 700-mile-long wall along the Mexican border to help stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Latin America.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee is completing comprehensive immigration legislation this week, and Sensenbrenner’s legislation may be included.

    Students from Alhambra High School, South Mountain High School, Vicki Romero High School, Chavez High School and NFL Yet College Prep Academy took part in yesterday’s demonstration.

    Claudia Ayala, an Alhambra High School senior, said she thinks Sensenbrenner’s bill is inhumane because it would make any aid to illegal immigrants illegal.

    “”It’s inhumane. If you see a dog, you would give it a bowl of water. But you can’t give a drink of water to immigrants (under HR 4437).””

    Ayala, who wouldn’t be affected by the legislation because she is a U.S. citizen, said countless families would be ruined because mothers and fathers would be forcibly deported like her brother-in-law was two years ago.

    She said her brother-in-law, an illegal immigrant, was deported just before the birth of his daughter.

    “”He had a life here; he wanted to contribute to this society,”” Ayala said.

    Sen. Robert Miranda, D-Phoenix, met briefly with the students, asking students to wave American flags rather than Mexican flags and to respect requests made by the police.

    Miranda, a Vietnam veteran, said he did not favor some of the immigration policies being discussed in Washington, including the proposed wall lining the border with Mexico.

    “”We couldn’t stop (Vietcong entering South Vietnam) on the Ho Chi Minh trail, we can’t expect to close 500 miles of the border),”” Miranda said.

    Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, also met with protestors, offering advice and support to students who came for the second consecutive day of protests at the state Capitol.

    At least one state senator said the demonstrations were not legitimate political protests, but an excuse by high school students to ditch their classes.

    Sen. Dean Martin, R-Phoenix, said during remarks on the Senate floor that he thought it was inappropriate for schools to allow students to leave their classes.

    Martin didn’t blame students, saying most high school students would choose a trip to the Capitol over homework.

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