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CURRENT ISSUE:  May 10, 2010
VOL. 48, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
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Immigration advocacy continues in Oakland
 

PHOENIX (CNS) — Immigration reform advocates gathered at Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light, April 30, for a press conference and interfaith prayer vigil seeking quick passage of comprehensive immigration reform. They also stood in solidarity with immigrants in Arizona where tough new immigration enforcement had been signed into law earlier that week.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Msgr. Antonio Valdivia, a retired pastor in the Oakland Diocese, talk with a young woman about her involvement with Oakland Community Organizations after a press conference April 30 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
JOSé LUIS AGUIRRE PHOTO
Sponsored by OCO (Oakland Community Organizations) and local clergy, the cathedral event drew more than 200 people. Local pastors, Father Jesus Nieto of St. Anthony Parish in Oakland and Father Aidan McAleenan, lent their support as did retired pastor, Msgr. Antonio Valdivia.

About 10,000 protesters rallied May 1 at the Arizona State Capitol to demonstrate against the state’s new law.

Bigger rallies took place the same day in states not affected by the law. In Los Angeles, an estimated 50,000 gathered, while a reported 20,000 assembled in Dallas. Two rallies took place in New York City.

Other cities holding rallies included Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, and Gilroy, as well as St. Louis; Wichita, Kan.; Columbus, Ohio; and Lancaster, Pa.

The law, which sets into place tough new standards, has galvanized immigrant rights groups around the United States.

It also resulted in a late-night April 29 session of the Arizona Legislature to limit the bill’s scope. Whereas the original bill, signed into law April 23, previously required law enforcement to make a “reasonable attempt” to determine legal status during “any lawful contact,” it now limits the reach to any lawful “stop, detention or arrest.”

Another revision states that law enforcement “may not consider race, color or national origin,” striking the word “solely” that many of the bill’s opponents took issue with.

Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, did not cite the Arizona law specifically in an April 29 statement urging federal measures to reform U.S. immigration policy.

“Over the past several years, the United States has poured billions of dollars into immigration enforcement, which has not only not solved the problem but in some cases led to the abuse of migrants,” Bishop Wester said.

“We urge members of both parties to begin a process toward introducing and enacting bipartisan legislation which affirms the rule of law and basic human rights,” he added. “Our immigration system is badly broken and is in need of immediate repair.”

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