Thousands rally against Ga. immigration law

Saturday, July 2, 2011 3:23 PM
Last updated 3:25 PM
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ATLANTA - Thousands of marchers stormed the Georgia Capitol on Saturday to protest the state's new immigration law, which they say creates an unwelcome environment for people of color and those in search of a better life.

Tomas Martinez shouts slogans while leading thousands of people in a march through downtown Atlanta in protest against Georgia's strict new immigration law on Saturday, July 2, 2011 in Atlanta. On Monday, a Federal judge temporarily blocked parts of the law. One provision that was blocked authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects without proper identification. It also authorizes them to detain illegal immigrants.   AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser
AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser
Tomas Martinez shouts slogans while leading thousands of people in a march through downtown Atlanta in protest against Georgia's strict new immigration law on Saturday, July 2, 2011 in Atlanta. On Monday, a Federal judge temporarily blocked parts of the law. One provision that was blocked authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects without proper identification. It also authorizes them to detain illegal immigrants.

Men, women and children of all ages converged on downtown Atlanta for the march and rally, cheering speakers while shading themselves with umbrellas and posters. Capitol police and organizers estimated the crowd at between 8,000 and 14,000. They filled the blocks around the Capitol, holding signs decrying House Bill 87 and reading "Immigration Reform Now!"

Friends Jessica Bamaca and Melany Cordero held a poster that read: "How would you feel if your family got broken apart?"

Bamaca was born in the U.S., but her mother and sister are from Guatemala. She said she fears they will be deported.

"I would be here by myself," said Bamaca, 13. "I have a feeling (the governor) doesn't know the pain affecting families. If he were to be in our position, how would he react?"

Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, said the crowd was sending a message.

"They are ready to fight," Nicholls said. "We need immigration reform, and no HB87 is going to stop us. We have earned the right to be here."

Azadeh Shahshahani of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia called the rally inspiring and said she hoped lawmakers would recognize the law's potential to damage the state.

"I think it's going to have an impact," she said. "Unfortunately, the damage has already been done as far as people of color having second thoughts about moving to Georgia."

Several different groups stood with the largely Latino crowd, including representatives from the civil rights movement. The Rev. Timothy McDonald, an activist who has been supportive of immigration protesters, was among the speakers showing his solidarity.

"You are my brothers and my sisters," McDonald told the crowd. "Some years ago, they told people like me we couldn't vote. We did what you are doing today. We are going to send a message to the powers that be ... that when the people get united, there is no government that can stop them. Don't let them turn you around."

MiLi Lai, a student at Emory who is Chinese, also attended the rally because the immigration law doesn't just apply to Latinos, but "all non-American people."

"We are the same community," Lai said. "We have to fight for our rights."

Bellanira Avoytes came to the rally with her husband and three children. Although she is a legal resident and her children were born in Georgia, she does not see herself as separate from undocumented Latinos.

"I have family who are not residents," she said. "I am together with the Latin people. I love Georgia. I have stayed here for 18 years. I want to buy a house here."

Saturday's rally follows a "day without immigrants" organized Friday, when some parts of the law took effect. It was organized by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. The organization asked businesses to close and community members not to work or shop to protest the law.

On Monday, a judge temporarily blocked key parts of the law until a legal challenge is resolved. One provision that was blocked authorizes police to check the immigration status of suspects without proper identification. It also authorizes them to detain illegal immigrants. Another penalizes people who knowingly and willingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants while committing another crime.

Parts of similar measures in Arizona, Utah and Indiana also have been blocked by the courts.

Provisions that took effect Friday include one that makes it a felony to use false information or documentation when applying for a job. Another provision creates an immigration review board to investigate complaints about government officials not complying with state laws related to illegal immigration.

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Will
75
Points
Will 07/02/11 - 03:30 pm
0
0
Wait one damn minute ... this
Unpublished

Wait one damn minute ... this has nothing to do with "color." This is about illegal entry into this country. Chronicle, you should be held accountable for this little fubar; you could incite a riot. Shame on you!

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 07/02/11 - 03:33 pm
0
0
Bienvenido a los Estados
Unpublished

Bienvenido a los Estados Unidos, por favor esté preparado para entregar sus documentos de identidad y pagar sus impuestos. Gracias

CobaltGeorge
176972
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/02/11 - 03:39 pm
0
0
I've read this PC what ever

I've read this PC what ever you want to call it 4 times and I have only one comment........If you are here illegally .....YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS...Period.

"We have to fight for our rights." Ya Right!

msgret92
121
Points
msgret92 07/02/11 - 04:04 pm
0
0
According to the latest

According to the latest Census figures this means that over 9,800,000 must support the new immigration law since they aren't protesting it.

msgret92
121
Points
msgret92 07/02/11 - 04:10 pm
0
0
Según las últimas cifras del

Según las últimas cifras del censo, esto significa que más de 9.800.000 debe ser compatible con la nueva ley de inmigración, ya que no lo están protestando.

CobaltGeorge
176972
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/02/11 - 04:11 pm
0
0
msgret92, very good common

msgret92, very good common sense post.....horhaaaa.

Wildcat682
0
Points
Wildcat682 07/02/11 - 04:39 pm
0
0
Everyone of the illegal

Everyone of the illegal immigrants in this country needs to be arrested and deported. If they come back, they should be imprisoned, then deported again. If they come back a third time, they should be put to death. Anyone that supports illegal immigrants should be imprisoned for aiding and abetting a known criminal.

Glad my state took the step to crackdown on these illegals. Hopefully, the government will follow suit and both the state and feds will enforce this law.....not like the federal immigration laws are actually being enforced.

david jennings
625
Points
david jennings 07/02/11 - 04:42 pm
0
0
Ive done a little farm work

Ive done a little farm work and it is hard work.Still Im against illegals demanding rights.I am also prepared to pay more for produce,food or grow what I can.We cant have it both ways because I sympathize with the farmers also.It has become too political an issue with immigrants and farmers stuck in the middle.

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 07/02/11 - 06:09 pm
0
0
Really, it might save the

Really, it might save the farmers a few bucks to hire illegals, but when it comes down to it. It cost the STATE and OUR TAX Dollars millions. Free school for children, health care, food stamps, etc. If you are here illegally, you have no rights. TRY this at home and see what happens in Mexico. Go home and fight to improve your living conditions there. I wonder how sympathetic these illegals would feel if we were going down there and taking their tax dollars and jobs.

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