Saturday, May 01, 2010

At least 20,000 walk in Dallas immigration march

At least 20,000 walk in Dallas immigration march

By DANNY ROBBINS Associated Press Writer © 2010 The Associated Press

May 1, 2010, 6:26PM


DALLAS — A crowd of at least 20,000, many carrying American flags, marched through downtown Dallas on Saturday in a mostly peaceful rally for immigration reform that was occasionally tinged with bitterness on both sides.


At the head of the march was Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, flanked by state Sen. Royce West and former state Rep. Domingo Garcia.


The crowd marched for about a mile from a Catholic church to Dallas City Hall, with many in attendance noting concern for a new Arizona law requiring authorities to question people about their immigration status if they're suspected of being in the country illegally. The protest was one of several similar rallies held nationwide.


Juan Hernandez, the Hispanic outreach coordinator for Sen. John McCain's unsuccessful presidential run, said Arizona was once considered by those south of the border to be a model state with particularly close ties to Mexico.


"It went beyond what most states do," said Hernandez, who attended the rally. "Now they are a state that goes beyond what the Constitution says you should do."


Retired seamstress Alicia Yeaguirre, 76, came clutching American flags and wearing a T-shirt saying "I love America" on the front in English and "Si, se puede" — "We can do it" in Spanish — on the back. The native of Mexico said she's a U.S. citizen who immigrated 56 years ago and raised five sons who graduated from college. She said she was inspired to march because of her dislike for the Arizona law. "I came here, like everybody else, looking for a better place to raise a family," Yeaguirre said. "And I did it."


Isela Sanchez, 21, listened to the speeches at City Hall while nursing her 3-week-old son from a bottle. She said she attended the rally to honor her Mexican-born parents, who came to the United States 23 years ago.


On the podium, former legislator Garcia said the large turnout at rallies across the country "sends a powerful message to Washington that we need immigration reform now."


Garcia, an attorney for the League of United Latin American Citizens, said later that his group would target companies that do business in Arizona. He said he planned to meet with Plano-based Frito-Lay next week in an effort to get the snack company to drop its sponsorship of the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.


Organizers had estimated as many as 100,000 might attend the Dallas march. Police estimated between 20,000 and 25,000 gathered in the plaza outside City Hall. Organizers said thousands more participated in the march.


About a dozen people carried signs depicting Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in a Nazi uniform with her arm extended in a Nazi salute. The signs also showed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his tough illegal immigration stance, wearing a white hood and holding a noose.


The word "Arizona" was printed across the bottom, with the "z" replaced by a swastika. Rally organizers were asking people to discard the signs.


About a half dozen counter-protesters stood behind a police barricade at the start of the march, with one man holding a sign that said "Shut Your Mouths and Start Headin' South." Another 100 counter-protesters waited at City Hall, chanting "Viva Arizona" at the marchers and asking them to show their identification.


John Ellis, 40, of Dallas, said he is unemployed and believes illegal immigrants will make his job search more difficult. "I have no problem with someone who wants to come here and be an American citizen," Ellis said. "But if they are here illegally, it concerns me."


Dallas police spokesman Sgt. Warren C. Mitchell said there was a large police presence, with some plainclothes officers walking in the march and others stationed with cameras high up in buildings. No arrests were made, Mitchell said.


The Houston Chronicle reported that about 7,000 marchers attended a rally in Houston, according to police estimates.

Unidos Venceremos! United We Will Win!
~Peta-de-Aztlan~ Sacramento, California, Amerika
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
make violent revolution inevitable."
~ President John F.Kennedy ~ Killed November 22, 1963

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