Saturday, May 15, 2010

Illinois: Knox students to march against Arizona law

Demonstration vs. immigration bill to finish at City Hall

The Register-Mail
Posted May 15, 2010 @ 08:21 AM

Knox College students are planning to protest on the streets of Galesburg today against the controversial new Arizona immigration law.

They will meet at West Berrien Street at 11 a.m. and march to City Hall. The demonstration has been called the “No One is Illegal March” and is organized by Estudiantes sin Fronteras (Students without Borders).

“A peaceful demonstration of solidarity with immigrant communities everywhere, resisting against the racist Arizona Senate Bill 1070,” is how a flyer circulated to Knox students describes the protest march.

The group states that it opposes the Arizona bill because it gives law enforcement officers in Arizona the “power to deport, detain and arrest any person they feel may be undocumented based on reasonable suspicion.”

The students added, “Using vague terminology such as reasonable suspicion allows for racial profiling which unfairly targets the Latino community and is a violation of civil liberties of all people.”

Proponents of the Arizona immigration bill say that all the law does is give the state power to enforce federal laws. But the bill has stoked political and racial tensions with opponents arguing that it will unfairly target legal Hispanic residents in Arizona.

The students have obtained a permit for the march, according to the Galesburg Police Department, although they will be allowed to march only on sidewalks.

The flyer for the demonstration states that the march will begin near the railroad tracks at West Berrien Street. The marchers will continue north on Henderson along the sidewalk, before turning right onto Main Street. The march will end at Standish Park, in front of City Hall.

Estudiantes sin Fronteras representatives said they picked West Berrien as the location for the start of the march because it was the site of the Santa Fe railroad camp, where the “Mexican-American community in Galesburg contributed to building this country.”

Senate Bill 1070 was approved by Arizona’s state Legislature and signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. The law has been criticized by President Barack Obama and is likely to be challenged in the courts, possibly preventing it from being implemented.

Brewer has stated that the law is necessary because the federal government has failed to enforce immigration rules.
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