Immigration Reformists Get Fired up for May Day in Downtown Fresno
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thousands of Central Valley residents are expected to attend Saturday's annual May Day march for immigration reform in Downtown Fresno.
Organizers said there is increased interest now that Arizona has passed the toughest law to date to reduce illegal immigration. Now march organizers are taking a radical step and pleading with Fresno city leaders to help.
Just a couple hours ago a letter was presented to city council leaders asking them to boycott the state of Arizona. The letter will be reviewed next Thursday at council.
For now May Day march organizers hope a large rally Saturday will influence council to support what is inside the letter.
After firing up immigration reform supporters Friday afternoon May Day organizer Leonel Flores headed into Fresno City Hall to deliver a letter.
"This is a letter about SB 1070 to support immigration reform," said Flores to council assistants.
In each letter Flores asked city leaders to vote for an economic boycott of Arizona because of Senate Bill 1070.
Under the new law police can question and detain immigrants who they suspect are in the country illegally.
Flores worries this is racial profiling and that is why he is also asking city council to issue a statement of disapproval and consider reforming immigration locally.
Flores said, "They cannot have any relationship with any state or any government who approves a law that they know is unconstitutionally and anti-American."
However, Flores may not find the support he is looking for from all the council members.
"It's a national security issue and I support fully what Arizona has done," said Fresno council President Larry Westerlund.
Westerlund said he would not support a boycott.
"They'd need a council member to sponsor some sort of resolution to bring it forward. But I can tell you on that particular issue the city of Fresno doesn't have any power or responsibility," said Westerlund.
Saturday afternoon Flores hopes to put the power in the people's hands with the annual May Day march. Nearly 5,000 Central Valley residents are expected to attend and several said they are doing so now all because of Arizona Senate Bill 1070.
"It's demeaning. I mean your asking me to show (ID) because of how I look," said Fresno's Amber Soto.
Gustavo Luna from Fresno said, "People's rights will be violated, are being violated. It really comes down to racial discrimination."
Other cities in California like Los Angeles and San Francisco support a boycott against Arizona. However there are several states like Oklahoma and Texas with plans to follow Arizona's lead and introduce similar immigration legislation.
Protestors will start at Eaton Plaza then head down P Street to city hall. The march will cover parts of Fresno Street, R Street, and Tulare. Then protestors will head down Van Ness Avenue ... back onto Fresno Street ... and back to Eaton Plaza.
The march starts at 5pm Saturday, so expect some traffic delays if you plan to be in the Downtown area Saturday evening.
immigration reform, fresno, fresno downtown, arizona, local, john-thomas kobos
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