Immigration Rally at SF State
Students gathered at the Malcolm X Plaza to rally against HR 4437 and the College Republicans bake sale
April 10, 2006 12:26 PM
What initially started off as a bake sale, eventually turned into a protest involving about 100 SF State students, in regards to the new, anti-immigration bill.
On March 29, the College Republicans, a student organization, held a bake sale at the Malcolm X Plaza, which began at 11:30 a.m. According to the club's secretary, Trent Downes, 19, the purpose of the sale was to show that there were other alternatives to immigration reform besides House Resolution 4437 (HR 4437). The bill would make illegal immigration a felony, as well as punish anyone guilty of providing assistance.
The club held a booth, with a sign that partly read, "We believe: Legal immigration is vital to the American way of life. The members were dressed in camouflage pants and green shirts that read, "Border Patrol."
This display soon erupted into a student protest. The voices of screaming students filled the side of the plaza as students began crowding around the authorized personnel orange caution tape around the Republican booth. Students and protesters seemed outraged by the organization’s humor behind the matter.
Students called the organization names, such as, “racist pigs,” and others asked, “Does it make you feel better to dress up as border patrol?” They also chanted, “Don’t give into racist fears, immigrants are welcome here.“
Downes responded to the students' allegations.
"Their only argument is that we (College Republicans) are racist and it’s really frustrating,” said Downes, business freshman. “It’s really hard to have a good debate with someone who listens to you and not just speaks to you.”
However, a counter student organization remained skeptical of the club's motives.
“They (College Republicans) are really out here to get media attention” said Michelle Montoya, 19, president of the College Democrats, and a political science sophomore.
The College Democrats also held a bake sell right across the Republican booth to raise proceeds for the La Raza Legal Center on Valencia Street.
They were among students from other club organizations, such as, Students Against War (SAW), the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and La Raza, who were against the passage of HR 4437.
Among its many provisions, the 300-word bill, entitled, “Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005,” will criminalize illegal migrants who cross the borders, in turn making it difficult for them to gain U.S. citizenship. The bill was introduced by the House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) on Dec. 6, 2005.
HR 4437 has already passed by the House of Representatives, and is currently under debate in the Senate.
Some students expressed strong concerns toward the bill.
“I’m angry at the world economic system who allows people to do these things,” said Alex Fu, 19, a sociology freshman, and ISO member. “We have to force people to run across the desert with no water to come here.”
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