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March/Rally for Immigrant Integration and Community Security brings over 2,000 to State Capitol
By LUPE, February 23, 2011

The march and rally were great, with a lot of good energy pouring in from across the state. Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance brought together thousands of Texans from as far away as El Paso and Lubbock, to the State Capitol to tell Texas legislators: Texas Can Do Better!

The march’s theme references both the passage of SB1070 in Arizona and the over 60 pieces of anti-immigrant legislation, including a few would-be SB1070s, filed in the Texas legislature. RITA, and the over 2,000 Texans rallying yesterday, sent the message that the Texas Legislature has the responsibility to provide for the well-being of all Texans–not pass divisive legislation that divides families, wounds communities, hurts business, and distracts from the real challenges facing the state.

Check out coverage from across the state:

TheMonitor.com — Local activist groups joined with students, businessmen and public officials Tuesday to caravan to Austin for a “Texas Can Do Better” day of action protesting proposed immigration laws. La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), an immigrant advocacy group, and Equal Voice, a network of advocacy groups, helped lead about 400 locals on the trip. The group left LUPE’s offices in San Juan at 4 a.m. Tuesday for Austin, where they met up with like-minded organizations from across the state.

Activists have identified a list of bills introduced into the Texas Legislature that they consider harmful. One would make being in the United States illegally an act of criminal trespass. Some would require police to check the immigration status of people arrested or detained, like the controversial Arizona law. One would require public schools to keep track of illegal students. Some would prohibit governments from using public money to print information in a language other than English. Others would deny state money to so-called sanctuary cities where immigration law is not fully enforced.

“(Our) message … is that the state of Texas needs to leave the work of immigration reform to the federal government,” LUPE organizer Javier Parra said. “And our families need to stay together, not divided.”

The groups that turned out included Proyecto Azteca of San Juan, Alamo-based ARISE, Brownsville’s Movimiento Del Valle Por Los Derechos Humanos and Valley Interfaith. University of Texas-Pan American students and representatives from the American GI Forum and Brown Berets participated. McAllen developer Alonzo Cantu donated $10,000 to cover the cost of renting eight busses to help with transport. Read more.

The Austin American Statesman – Organizers from the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance said that about 3,000 people of varying ages marched on the streets to the Capitol, and several hundred of them stuck around for a rally and to visit legislators.

Javier Parra said he was part of group of 400 people from McAllen who came to try to persuade members of the Legislature not to back some 60 immigration bills that he said are anti-immigrant, anti-family and anti-law enforcement.
Particularly, Parra said, he is opposed to a bill that would establish a law in Texas like the one in Arizona that allows police to detain or question anyone who they think is in the country illegally.

“We bring the message of our people to the legislators,” said Parra, who came with the labor rights group LUPE, or La Unión del Pueblo Entero. “Texas needs to be a leader, not a follower.”…

Guerrero Garcia, a 22-year-old student from the University of Texas at El Paso, spoke loudly as the crowd chanted, “Sí, se puede,” the phrase made famous by civil rights activist and LUPE founder César Chávez that means essentially, “Yes, we can.”

Garcia, who said he's the son of immigrants, said the immigration-related bills would tear apart families of mixed citizenship.

“We are all equal,” he said. “We should be treated equal.” Read more.

El Paso Times – Enriqueta Breceda did not tell her adult children why she would be in Austin on Tuesday.

Breceda, a 77-year-old woman who moves with the assistance of a walker, didn't want them to stop her from getting on a bus and traveling 10 hours to join thousands of Texans who gathered at the Capitol to protest legislation that targets undocumented immigrants…

Texas faces a budget shortfall up to $27 billion that will mean crushing cuts in areas such as public education, higher education and health care.

State Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, told the crowd at the rally that the state should be focused on those issues. Instead, he said, some lawmakers have chosen to “attack Latinos and immigrant communities.”

State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, echoed his comments.

“You are here to say no to the most racist session of the Texas Legislature in over a quarter of a century,” Burnam said. “You're here to say no to xenophobia. You're here to say no to old-fashioned bigotry and ignorance.” Read more.

La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) is a community organization based in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. More posts


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