Saturday, May 1, 2010

Milwaukee May 1st Immigrant March Draws Thousands To Protest Arizona's SB 1070

Bottom Photo: A fire was sparked in an alley adjacent to Voces de la Frontera, which pushed march organizers to start the event. It was scheduled to begin at noon. Photos by HNG

In Washington D.C. police arrested Congressman Luis Gutierrez (Dem.-IL) for civil disobedience outside the Whitehouse who was pushing for immigration reform and protesting Arizona's SB 1070. Gutierrez was attending an immigration rally.

By H. Nelson Goodson
May 1, 2010

Milwaukee  - On Saturday, more than 60 thousand immigrants and supporters for Immigration Reform marched through the predominately South side Hispanic neighborhood. The march was started as soon as a blaze began in a dumpster next to Voces de la Frontera building. The fire was put out by organizers who used fire extinguishers.  No one was reported injured, according to police.
At about 12:50 p.m., the multitud of people protesting Arizona's SB 1070 and pushing for immigration reform stopped briefly on S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr. and the West and East bound W. National Ave. lanes, 6 in total to S. 6th St. remained packed. Numerous people stood on the side walks along both sides of W. National Ave. from S. Chavez Dr. to S. 25th St. to join the march.
Many of the participants are marching to bring pressure on the U.S. Congress and President Barck H. Obama to address immigration reform before the year ends. Obama said during the week, that he doubts that Congress would debate the issue before the mid-term elections. Most likely, he won't see a bill come through in 2010, but Obama said later he would support the bill.
In Washington D.C., police arrested Congressman Luis Gutierrez (Dem.-IL) on Saturday afternoon outside the Whitehouse who was pushing for immigration reform and protesting Arizona's SB 1070. Gutierrez said yesterday, he was going to act in civil disobedience during an immigration rally.
Latinos and non Latinos came out to protest against Arizona's SB 1070 immigration enforcement law that was signed into law a week ago by Governor Jan Brewer. Some influencial movers and shakers in education and political representatives in the Milwaukee area also marched for immigration reform and to protest Arizona's SB 1070. The new Milwaukee Area Technical College President Dr. Michael Burke, State Representative Pedro Cólon, State Representative Joseph Zepnick, Gongresswoman Gwen Moore, and Dr. Mike Rosen, MATC AFT Local Union President marched with thousands of participants.
The law takes effect 90 days from Friday and could lead to racial profiling. Several lawsuits have been file in federal court in Phoenix challenging the law and claiming it's unconstitutional.
On Friday, Brewer signed a revision of the law, it eliminates the word "solely" and now officers could determine the legal status of people, if they are investigating a call or a complaint such as someone didn't cut their grass. The revision bars the state attorney general and local district attorneys from investigating due to race, color and national origin.
SB 1070 makes it a state crime to be illegally in the country, if convicted a undocumented suspect could be sentence to 6 months in prison, up to $2,500 in fines and then deported. Federal immigration laws make it a civil offense for being in the country illegally, compared to Arizona's state law making it a crime.
A national and local boycott has been called and is taking a toll against Arizona's economy. Conventions, tourism and travel to Arizona has been canceled by companies and people.   In Milwaukee, South side Alderman Jim Witkowiak will introduce a resolution on Monday in the Common Council calling for participation in the economic boycott of Arizona. A protest in August outside the Diamondbacks game at Miller Park is also planned, by Voces de la Frontera organizers.
Arizona boycotts by states and cities have been canceling trips, investments, contracts and divesting. Nationally, Latinos are limiting their spending to bare essentials only, to manage their economic purchasing power. Where largely Hispanic populations reside, cutting back on spending has gained popular support throughout the country.
A growing resentment and shame among Arizonians has been reported by residents and businesses in Arizona, after Governor Brewer sparked a national embarassment for adopting SB 1070, an illegal immigrant law.
The march began at noon from Voces de la Frontera's office, 1027 S. 5th St. in Milwaukee. The immigrant march proceeded along W. National Ave. to Mitchell Park located in the 2500 block of W. Pierce St. where various Mexican bands and  groups performed for the public from 2:30p.m. to about 6:00p.m.

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