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Oregon Citizens Rally Against Arizona Immigration LawBonnie King Salem-News.com
Thousands across the state came together in solidarity for immigration rights.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Salem hosted one of forty rallies across the United States today in reaction to Arizona’s new immigration law, advocating for realistic immigration reform.
Hundreds of people of all ethnicities showed up at Oregon’s Capitol to join in the march, with 50,000 expected in Phoenix at the Arizona state Capitol in 95 degree weather. Oregon's mild May climate was less taxing on participants.
The theme of the rally in Salem on Saturday morning was one of peace, unity, and even negotiation. What it wasn't, was obligatory. The group was nothing less than patriotic, and insistent on their rights as citizens. They began the rally with the Pledge of Allegiance, which was almost emotional for many, hands proudly held over their hearts.
SB1070, the Arizona law, is set to take effect July 29th, and critics say it will lead to racial profiling and that it unfairly targets Hispanics or those that "look" like they may be of Hispanic descent. It gives police the right to ask any one for proof of their immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they might be in the United States illegally, though the definition of “reasonable suspicion” has yet to be explained.
Speakers in Salem called on President Obama and Oregon leaders to enact national immigration reform that keeps families together, and unites communities through a path to citizenship and due process rights for new immigrants.
Signs exclaiming “Citizenship Yes, Deportation No” and "We Are America" abounded at the rally, and the crowd responded with enthusiasm as the speakers proclaimed the intention to move forward toward their common goals.
Supporters of the new Arizona law say it is important because the federal government has failed to enforce immigration laws, and their state wants something done.
Others think they have gone too far, attempting to circumvent federal laws by making it a state crime to be in the country illegally.
“Immigration is only part of the problem. Greed and selfishness are at the root of it all,” said one participant. “We are all in this together. If we don’t start looking at it that way, we’ll all lose.”
Recently, much of the United States has been introduced to a new slogan, “Boycott Arizona”, while Arizonians are hoping to attract those with like attitudes to their own, through a “Buycott” Arizona message encouraging people (papered US citizens) to vacation in the desert this summer.
The boycott campaign asks citizens to do just the opposite through canceling conventions and buying products through companies from other states, hoping the economic impact to the Arizona wallet will influence the law being overturned.
However, according to an Associated Press-Gfk poll, almost twice as many Arizonians people support the Arizona law as those who oppose it. The poll found that 42 percent favored it, 24 percent opposed it, and 29 percent were neutral.
These views are expressed in some degree throughout the United States, but none so harshly as in Arizona. There are varied views on what it will mean if the law is allowed to be enforced.
“What do they think will happen? People aren’t going to suddenly become legal just because Arizona made this law. ‘Illegals’ will just go to other states to work, where they won’t be so harassed,” noted an elderly man. “Why would anyone want to live in Arizona when they’re so hateful?”
Salem’s rally was very positive, with no opposition noticeable. The rally in Portland outside the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) was set to begin at 4:00 p.m., and a large protest is planned for Saturday night in San Francisco at the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game against the Giants. The uproar that Arizona started with their law may be more than they bargained for.
Bonnie King has been with Salem-News.com since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers.
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