SPECIAL SERIES : May Day 2006 Coverage
Thousands March in Protest of Immigration Bill
People rally at Dolores Park in SF against HR 4437
April 27, 2006 12:36 PM
Thousands of people came from all over the Bay Area to protest HR 4437, Congress’ anti-immigration bill, demanding that Congress design an immigration policy respectful of human rights.
The protest, organized by the Coalition Deporten La Migra (Deport INS -United States Immigration & Naturalization Service), met in Dolores Park on April 23, at 11 a.m. However, the actual march to the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco began at 2 p.m., once the crowd reached the 10,000 to 15,000 mark. Marchers carried both Mexican and American flags, and held up signs that read, “No Human Being is Illegal,” “No Mas Leyes Racistas” (No More Racist Laws), and “Amnistia – Equal Rights for All Immigrants.”
If passed, the bill would make illegal immigration a felony, as well as punish anyone guilty of providing assistance.
“San Francisco joins cities across America in demanding that Congress create a true legalization package,” not just punitive policies,” said Renee Saucedo of La Raza Centro Legal, an organization, which provides direct legal services, education, leadership development, and opportunities to organize around community issues.
Activities were monitored closely by four busloads of police officers. There was a virtual blue line in front of both the federal building and the state office. Thirty-three police motorcycles lined Larkin Street north of Golden Gate Avenue – which was blocked by protestors.
Some marchers shared whether the bill would affect them or their loved ones, or both.
“I am not affected,” said Monica Calvo, a legal Costa Rican immigrant and Berkeley resident. “But the rest of my friends are and the hard working people.”
“I am affected by the law and all my family is, too,” said Rachel Sanchez, a resident of Emeryville, and housecleaner. She and her family have been in the United States for six years.
“Family members’ll be straight locked up,” said Jose Rodriguez, an SF State student. “The law doesn’t look at people as people, it looks at them like a number.”
Three weeks ago Maria Reyes, 53, a volunteer for Mujeres Unidas (Women United), went on a seven-day hunger strike in front of the state office.
“We’ll be here,” said Reyes’ son, Emmanuel Reyes, yesterday. “Striking and Marching, we’ll keep going.”
A group of SF State students, including Rodriguez, announced plans to go on a hunger strike from May 1 to May 5. “Un Dia Sin Immigrantes,” or “A Day Without Workers,” is scheduled for May 1.
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