Immigrant rights activists rally against raids

DALLAS – Sixty or more people rallied at the Mexican Consulate here July 17 in support of immigrant rights and against the recent upsurge in immigration raids being carried out by the California Border Patrol.

California border agents, working under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security, have been targeting the state's Latino communities in sweeping immigration raids.

The marchers included activists from the Latino community and many others. Several participants came from the peace movement after North Texas for Justice and Peace endorsed the rally, which had been initiated by United Voices for Immigrants, the Coalition of Mexican Organizations, and Friends of the (People’s Weekly) World.

One of the peace activists said, “Just as the Bush administration is abusing ‘the least of us,’ the people without power, that’s what they are doing with immigrants as well.” Another said that she saw the worldwide fight against “neoliberal” economic policies (associated with trade pacts like NAFTA), as the underlying theme in the movements for immigrant rights and for peace.

In the hot sun, Guatemalan Margarita Alvarez drew the most applause with her fiery call for unity among all immigrant groups as well as the citizens who are working together for human rights. She said that the fight for peace was as important to immigrants as it is to all other workers.

State Rep. Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas), head of Mexican American Democrats and an unwavering supporter of immigrant rights, said, “People have expressed their displeasure by saying that they are against those [California] raids.”

Alonzo added that President Bush has drawn the people’s wrath by coming out against a bill that would have simplified the road to citizenship for America’s immigrants. Alonzo named immigrant rights, along with the war in Iraq and health care, as the top issues in the November elections.

“If people base their vote on those issues, I believe that people are going to vote against George Bush and for John Kerry!” he said. His main message to all Latinos is that they must get out the vote this fall.

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