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  • Edición impresa de Agosto 3, 2010

SOUTH BEND — From toddlers to senior citizens, more than 100 people gathered Thursday in South Bend to protest a controversial immigration law in Arizona.

The residents arrived downtown close to 4 p.m., then took to the streets, marching in solidarity and stressing the message printed on their bright orange T-Shirts: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We recognize that immigration is broken and we’re calling for solutions — humane solutions,” said march organizer Lupe Gomez. “Deporting people isn’t going to stop them from coming.”

Gomez was referring to Arizona Senate Bill 1070, a strict anti-illegal immigration law set to go into effect Thursday, but partly halted Wednesday by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked several of the more controversial components of the law, according to AP reports, including the condition requiring police to determine the immigration status of people they stop and think are in the country illegally.Thursday’s march in South Bend was sponsored by several local agencies and was one of many across the country to oppose the Arizona law.

Protesters first gathered at the Morris Center for Performing Arts where they held a rally and waved signs with messages such as: “Respect Diversity, Todos Somos Arizona,” and “No One is Illegal.” Many of the marchers were high school students such as Erica Madera and Diana Ruiz.

“We’re in 2010 and we shouldn’t be living with discrimination,” said Ruiz, a 17-year-old Adams High School student. “If (the immigration law) starts in one place, it’s going to spread to others.”

“And it’s gonna break up families,” added Madera, a 16-year-old Adams High School student. “If we all stick together, we can make a change.”

Across the street from the Morris, a separate set of residents stood with signs advocating the Arizona law. The group of three people, which eventually grew to five, held signs with messages such as “Illegal Means Illegal.”

Among the small group were Railton Loy, imperial wizard of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Osceola, and the Rev. Lawrence Grant of South Bend.

“The federal government is not protecting us,” Grant said. “Indiana should do the same thing as Arizona.”

Mishawaka resident Karen Casey, who was hesitant to give her last name at first because of job concerns, said she feels it’s Americans who are being profiled.

“If I go into a liquor store, I need an ID,” she said. “The illegals can do whatever they want.”Casey, who was holding a sign with the word “illegal,” spelled “illegale,” said she is not against immigration, just illegal immigration.

After the rally, the marchers made their way down Colfax Avenue, stopping first at U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly’s office where they presented signatures on a letter addressed to the president and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Then, they walked along Main Street and ended at the Civil Rights Heritage Center on West Washington Street.

Gomez, youth coordinator for La Casa de Amistad, said the judge’s recent move to halt part of the law was great, but that opponents of the law still had a long journey ahead of them.

“It’s not the final answer,” she said. “We have a lot of work today.”

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Students from La Casa de Amistad Youth and Leadership Council carry a banner expressing their sentiments Thursday in a South Bend march against an Arizona immigration law being contested in federal courts.

 

 


 

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