Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Groups Plan Civil Disobedience to Protest Arizona Migrant Law

Latin American Herald Tribune

WASHINGTON – Pro-immigrant groups announced Tuesday a wave of non-violent acts of civil disobedience in several U.S. cities as the next step in their strategy to push for immigration reform and halt the entry into force of the new Arizona law that criminalizes undocumented immigrants.

In addition to repeating their call for a boycott against the southwestern state, the coalition plans sit-ins at federal buildings and actions against firms that invest in Arizona.

The initiative will be conducted in New York, Chicago, Washington, Seattle, Miami and Los Angeles, but activists say that more cities will join the campaign in the coming days.

Among the scheduled activities is the blockading inside detention centers of buses that transport immigrants arrested for deportation and mobilizations in front of the offices of lawmakers who oppose immigration reform or support the Arizona law.

The campaign will culminate with a drumroll of demonstrations in Arizona on May 29, the date the activists have proclaimed as the National Day of Solidarity with Arizona.

In a telephone conference call, Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, justified the campaign as a way to “dramatize the urgent need” for a complete overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

The actions against federal buildings will serve to demonstrate community anger against the government of Barack Obama and its inaction in the immigration debate.

“We hoped that (Obama) would provide the same leadership he gave to health care reform, but the only thing we see from Obama is that he’s deporting more than 4,000 people this year,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland.

The activists also expressed their concern about the demonstrations called for May 29 by the Tea Party Movement with the support of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

In the face of that, Angelica Salas, executive director of the coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, defended the pacifism of the pro-immigration reform movement and added that “others who promote hate” will not be able to interrupt their efforts.

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