Arizona's Immigration Law Stirs Debate in the Valley
FRESNO, California (KFSN) -- Opposition is mounting across the country to Arizona's new immigration law. The bill signed into law last Friday gives police the authority to question whether people are in the country legally. Protesters in Arizona used refried beans to vandalize the state capitol. Some of the beans were shaped like swastikas on some house and senate windows. News of immigration reform in Arizona has some Valley residents living in fear ... and others ready to take to the streets to protest.
As families and individuals wait for green cards outside the Mexican consulate in Downtown Fresno ... there were murmurs Monday of what is happening in Arizona. Cindy Olea is waiting to get an identification card. She was born in Mexico. Even though she's spent the majority of her 24-years in the United States, she does not yet have documentation. She and others are worried what might happen if California passes a law similar to that in Arizona.
Olea said, "If it happens here ... there's a lot of people without papers and if we're wandering around or something, we just might have to go home or leave."
Isidro Delgado of Fresno said, "It's very worrisome because people will not be able to leave their homes -- only for the basics, not even to go to the store -- and we need to go to the store, to consume to buy which will be a big loss for them."
Leonel Flores is co-chair of the May First Committee for Immigration Reform. He says those who oppose what's happening in Arizona will have a chance to be heard here in Fresno at the May Day parade this weekend.
Flores said, "They are very worried this is going to happen in other cities ... in other states ... so they know. If they stay at home -- it could happen in other cities and other states. "
Last year about a thousand protesters marched in support of immigration reform. Based on the number of calls he's received in the last couple of days, Flores says as many as five thousand could show up this year. He'll be asking those marchers to sign a petition in opposition to Arizona's new immigration law.
Flores said, "I will receive a letter to be signed by many organizations in support of them but also how we can put pressure on the Arizona government to stop discrimination against any kinds of immigrants." Most activists acknowledge the need for immigration reform ... they simply believe Arizona's new law is not the answer.
fresno, politics, liz harrison
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