ABC7News – April 10 event

By May 2, 2006 No Comments

LOS ANGELES (April 10, 2006) – Thousands of people are expected to attend another march
through downtown Los Angeles tonight to urge lawmakers to make it easier for undocumented
immigrants to become citizens.
The candlelight vigil and procession is part of a national “Day of Action” that follows the U.S.
Senate’s failure to approve federal legislation that would have provided a path to citizenship to
some illegal immigrants.
Two weeks ago, more than 500,000 people jammed downtown Los Angeles to protest a House
bill approved in December that would have made it a felony to be in the country illegally. That bill
also would have punished clergy and others who help illegal immigrants.
Organizers said they don’t expect the crowds at tonight’s rally to be as big, but they didn’t
anticipate half a million people two weeks ago either.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, an advocate of immigrants rights, will deliver an opening prayer and
blessing at the start of the interfaith procession, which is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. with a
candlelight vigil at La Placita Church, near Olvera Street. From there, demonstrators will march to
Fletcher Bowron Square on the 300 block of Main Street, between Temple and Aliso streets.
Other events around Los Angeles and Orange Counties are planned today.
In the San Fernando Valley, demonstrators will gather outside the Hermandad Mexicana office at
7915 Van Nuys Blvd. in Panorama City around 6:30 p.m. for a candlelight vigil followed by a
procession to the Federal Building at 6230 Van Nuys Blvd. in Van Nuys. That demonstration was
organized by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
In Orange County, a rally is scheduled to start at noon outside the Federal Building at 411 West
4th Street in Santa Ana.
Even though the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles helped organize the downtown event, Mahony will not be able to walk in the procession because he must deliver a Mass, said Tod
Tamberg, spokesman for the archdiocese.
“Ever since his days as a young priest with Cesar Chavez in the 1950s, he has been advocating for
immigrant rights,” Tamberg said of Mahony. “He believes we need an immigration system that works, meaning one that provides an orderly process for not only admitting people to this county but
for dealing with people who are already here.”
Senate leaders had hoped to approve a measure last week offering legal permanent residency to
undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for more than five years. But the
legislation failed, with only 38 votes, and Congress is now on spring break.
President Bush and others are opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants no matter how long
they’ve been in the country, saying it would be unfair to those who try to become citizens by
following the rules. Many immigrants who came to the United States legally also are opposed to
granting illegal immigrants citizenship.
Community, religious and union leaders have been urging their members to attend tonight’s marches. Dozens of Latino organizations plan to participate in the downtown procession, including The
Coalition for Humane Immigrants Rights, or CHIRLA; The Central American Resource Center, or
CARECEN; and the Colombian American Citizens in Action.
Su Yon Yi, from the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, or NAKASEC, says
there are many Asian-American groups also participating in the rally. The Progressive Jewish
Alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union and several labor unions also helped organize the event.
Los Angeles has been a hotbed of pro-immigrant activity, with some of the largest rallies in the
nation. In the days following the mass rally last month, thousands of students walked out of
school to protest immigration proposals they consider harsh. Those protests led to school lockdowns and a pledge from school and law enforcement officials to enforce truancy laws.
But Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other political leaders applauded the students for
their activism.