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Thousands gather for immigrant rights march in downtown L.A. [Updated]


[Updated at 1 p.m.: Tens of thousands of immigrant rights demonstrators rallied in downtown Los Angeles and across the country Saturday to protest a tough new anti-illegal immigration law in Arizona and stalled legislative reforms in Congress.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Cardinal Roger Mahony joined the crowd and were among the speakers at the rally.

The mayor took the stage to raucous cheers, taking a moment to groove to the live band on stage before addressing the crowd. Speaking in English and Spanish, he called Los Angeles a bilingual city and expressed strong support for immigration reform.

Villaraigosa recounted the story of his grandfather who immigrated to the city in the early 1900s. He drew loud cheers when he expressed support for the thousands of illegal immigrants who have documented children at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Afterward, Mahony spoke, saying "everyone in God's eyes is legal. We are all standing with our immigrant brothers and sisters."]

The hearts and minds of many of the demonstrators were with their counterparts in Arizona.

Arizona lawmakers recently passed legislation that would allow police to check the legal status of people they suspect are illegal migrants. Officials said the law, which takes effect this summer, was needed in part to safeguard against violent Mexican drug cartels.

One man in the crowd wore a white T-shirt with black block letters reading "Todos Somos Arizona" or "We are all Arizona." Another bobbed a sign over the crowd with a swastika scrawled in between the names of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who strongly supported the new law.  

Union members blew horns and chanted "no human being is illegal" over the rhythmic melodies of a mariachi band. The smell of bacon-wrapped hot dogs sizzling alongside onions and peppers on vendors' hotplates wafted through the crowd. The march is set to begin at 11 a.m.

Herlindo Ordonez, 40, stood on the corner with his teenage daughter, their wrists buckled to jail bars with yellow chains. A sign on the bars read "SB 1070."

Ordonez, who is an illegal immigrant, said he came from Guatemala 15 years ago with his wife and three daughters in search of economic opportunity.

The Van Nuys resident said he has found a steady job at a shipping company, but he said that the fears that come with being undocumented haunt him constantly.

"There's a lot of fear, a lot of worry," he said in Spanish. "When I drive I worry. When I come home late from work my family worries. Fear all the time."

Nearby, Maria Rodriguez, 58, was posted up on Broadway under the blue and white marquee of Cathedral de la Fe selling American flags, large and small, to demonstrators filing in to the march's starting point at Olympic Boulevard.
The Mexico native said she emigrated to Los Angeles 30 years ago to find more reliable economic opportunity for herself and her two daughters.
"Banderas, banderas," she shouted to passersby. "Flags, flags."

Rodriguez said she opted to sell the American flag to marchers to send the message that she and other immigrants are proud to be Americans and are here to stay.
"It’s about pride" she said in Spanish. "It’s not the Mexican flag we fight for anymore. It’s the American flag."

Her customers wrapped the flags around their heads like bandanas, waved them in their hands and mounted them on strollers.

As for sales, she said she's seen better. "There's going to be a lot of American flag vendors today."

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony stood with organizers, on the bed of a flatbed truck, his low-hanging cross glimmering in the morning sun.

Demonstrators waving dozens of American flags, with a few Mexican flags interspersed, crowded around the platform at the march's starting point chanting slogans, "Obama Escucha Estamos en la Lucha" or "Obama, listen, we're in the fight."

Mahony held hands with organizers high over their heads as they announced "no somos criminales" or "we are not criminals."

At the corner of 9th Street and Broadway, Anna Castro, 53, a janitor and a member of United Services Workers West, joined several of her co-workers in holding up a banner that said: "With Us, America Works."
Castro, who lives in Highland Park, said she got to the march site at 6:30 a.m.

"This is critical," said Castro, who is a native of El Salvador. "It's very important that we send a message that the kind of law that passed in Arizona cannot pass here. Immigrants helped build this country.

"I clean bathrooms and offices and I've never seen an American working alongside us. We're all immigrants. I'm an American citizen now. But I came here as an immigrant to work hard. We need to show that we will not permit an Arizona law in California or any other kind of state. A law like this would create chaos in Los Angeles and California. People would be scared to talk to the police."

Not all of the demonstrators were Latino. 

Jeff, a 26-year-old illegal immigrant from South Korea who did not want his last name used, marched along side a group of Korean drummers. Wearing a white shirt that crossed out the word “Minutemen,” Jeff said he decided to march because of a "broken down immigration system."

"This does not just affect Latinos" he said. "This affects all communities…Koreans suffer from that because they come from a different culture, they have a different language. We need reform in 2010!"

-- Robert Faturechi, Sam Quinones, Ruben Vives and Patrick McDonnell

Photo: Martin Santiago of Van Nuys, right, holds his 3-year-old daughter's hand as they walk past a mural on Broadway on their way to the May Day rally's starting point on Olympic Boulevard in downtown L.A. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (39)

The Pictures along show how mutch the like trashing this coubtry with there third world Grafitti and lack of respect for our Laws.

I think the intentions of the protestors are good but, the logic is seriously flawed.

I'm glad that guy said he was living in fear. People who are illegal should be fearful of being deported.



This xenophobic hysteria around immigration reminds me of when the first colonists arrived in the New World, and Native Americans demanded they show their papers ... right, exactly.

Not as badly as you're trashing the country with illiteracy and bad grammar.

I am not surprised the LA Times did not interview a single person who supports the law in Arizona, though there are millions of us.

Hard to believe.

Let's reverse this and imagine 10's of millions of white & black Americans with low education & job skills moving illegally to Mexico & Central America to wave the stars & stripes, demand 'rights' they don't have in America & leech public services (using public hospitals, schools, jails & welfare more than natives while paying lower taxes).

Let's go further & imaging those American transplants demanding the culture & language of the native population move out of their way to accommodate the illegals, then have the natives watch silently & pay taxes to support their own displacement.

Do you really wonder why native-born Americans have had it with this one way street? A spring is being wound as this continues...

Ordonez is a lawbreaker. He should live in fear, just like all law breakers do. If you live a life of crime, you may get caught. It is unlawful for him to be here without permission from the government. He is not a Van Nuys resident. A resident is an individual with legal permission to live here. My parents came here legally and work hard for their citizenship. They are disgusted with the illegal immigrants. There is nothing in the Arizona law that violates anyone's rights. If you are not here illegaly, you have nothing to worry about.

Herlindo Ordonez, who is an illegal immigrant, said he came from Guatemala

If he is here illegally, he should be removed immediately. Breaking the law is breaking the law. What is the point of having laws if we're just going to ignore them?

It's insanity. Wake up, America.

To all the people writing hateful things about immigrants here: the financial plunder perpetrated by Wall Street upon the American people has done more damage to our country than any of these immigrants you rally about. Where was your outrage when those criminals sucked massive amounts of taxpayer money with their bailouts and our economy/job situation still got worse, despite what they told us? Further, where is your anger against the employers who hire and exploit immigrants?

This hatred against immigrants is un-American. You may scream loudly about it and post exaggerated ugly words anonymously, but you do not speak for me.

Didn't Mahoney shield alleged child molesters? There's someone I want on my side...

Oh yeah, Obama also had people of shady character as his mentors.... ok.. birds of a feather...

Now they carry American flags... figures... what a bunch of opportunists

What happened to all the Mexican Flags? Don't be fooled by their absence. These displays are fueled by Mexican and Central American Nationalism. I know what I'm talking about having been raised in that milieu. But I've realized that I would rather preserve the cultural continuity that we once had. Unfortunately the acceptance and liberal generosity that developed has left us defenseless and overwhelmed. You may call it discrimination but I don't see us being overrun by canadians. Where's the counter demonstration L. A. Times? I WANT an Arizona law. Its worth it if all I have to do is carry a passport.

I am the granddaughter of legal immigrants to California. People from countries all over the world would like to come to the US, and they wait for years to enter. Those who cheat and cut to the front of the line illegally then want favorable status.

For all of those that support illegals, why haven't they donated their own monies? Gloria Estefan's net worth is $727 Million Dollars. The combined net worth of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Diane Feinstein is $300 Million Dollars. Shakira is worth more than $60 Million and so is Ricky Martin.
Bud Selig (baseball) is worth $300 Million Dollars. Together then can send more than $2 Billion Dollars of their own money to Mexico and other countries.

Our states are bankrupt, we have a massive unemployment rate, we don't have enough money to take care of our own citizens, and we are being asked to foot the bill for illegals? Outrageous!!!

So you're already assuming that illegal immigrants tagged the murals, because no American would ever do such a thing, right? You are a perfect example of why Arizona's law is dangerous. Can you imagine having people like you sharing your bigoted fears to the police constantly? They won't be able to do their real jobs! It's going to be witch hunt in Arizona.

I don't even know why I'm responding to someone who can't even spell.

Where are the pics of the Mexican flags or the upside down American flags?
They're certainly out there today.

U.S. Immigration Law.

Illegal aliens are subject to removal (deportation) on grounds of inadmissibility or grounds of removability/deportability.

If the foreign national was not "admitted" to the United States (illegal entry), he or she will be charged as inadmissible pursuant to section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The immigration term "inadmissibility" means that a foreign national is ineligible to receive a U.S. visa and to be admitted to the United States.

Inadmissibility grounds include all criminal offenses, health-related issues or communicable diseases; illegal entry and immigration violations; documentation fraud; and previous removal from the U.S.

Grounds of deportability include being inadmissible at the time of entry or adjustment of status (including illegal entry); violation of non-immigrant status; marriage fraud; falsification of documents; false claim to U.S. citizenship; termination of conditional permanent residence; and unlawful voting.

The grounds of deportability apply to all foreign nationals who are physically present in the United States in violation of the law.

ALL illegal aliens are "present in violation of law", a deportable offense.

NOBODY has any "right" to enter the USA illegally.
NOBODY has any "right" to live in the USA, if they came here illegally, or violated the legal terms of their visa.

Illegal aliens had the "right" to immigrate legally, but they chose to break the law instead.
Illegal aliens have the "right" to leave the USA right now, nobody is going to stop them.
Illegal aliens have the "right" to be treated exactly the same as every other person in the USA who broke the law; they have the "right" to be arrested for their crime(s), and they have the right to be subjected to the existing penalty for those crimes.
The penalty for illegal entry to the US is - deportation.
The penalty for violating the terms of a legal US visa is - deportation.
The penalty for being present in the USA after committing those offenses is - deportation.

If you don't like, LEAVE.
Hasta la vista, baby.

Mister President, tear down this wall and let competition enter the market place. Overpaid and overweight deadbeats who pose as patriots are really spoiled workers who fear the slim and trim illegals because they work faster and harder. The jobs belong to those that are affordable, not to those that wave a flag. Cost conscious employers have hired 20 million illegals, they are tired of listening to the moans and groans of workers who no longer can bend over and touch their toes. This is a nation built on the laws of Capitalism not Communism. It is not how much you need, but how much you are worth.

bring it on - all this does is push more middle-of-the-roaders over to the anti side - I mean really, how many Americans celebrate May Day? -it's a socialist and communist "workers of the world unite" day and this is anathema to American ideals

deport them all

Maybe if you could spell, someone would take your post seriously.

Immigrants have rights. Illegal aliens are criminals and should be jailed.

Well at least they are carrying the right flag - that's progress!

IF these people get their way....this country is finished. 3rd World. I am leaving California---soon, baby.

Um WaKE UP. The person who created the grey graffiti on the right (Meek) is half white. If you had known anything you would know graffiti "street graffiti" tag, writing, throw-ups, slap tags, bombing, ect. Didn't come from their 3rd world country. You heard of Polland,Spain, The U.K. Umm New York. Oh p.s. I think your the one who should wake up.WAKE UP!!!

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